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Airtel Raises $1.3bn From Mobile Towers Sales

airtelBharti Airtel said it has raised $1.3 billion from the sale of its mobile towers in five African countries by Helios Towers, IHS Plc and American Tower Company. The proceeds will go towards reducing the $10 billion debt incurred on its African operations in 2010.

Last month, Airtel said a proposed deal with Helios Towers in Tanzania and Chad had expired without a final agreement. Airtel still works with Helios in other countries. The India-based operator said it was negotiating similar deals with six other countries in Africa. Under the original agreement, Airtel said it would sell around 3,100 towers in four countries to Helios.

Helios on its part said in a statement that it “places great value on its business partnership with Airtel and will continue to work with it in Tanzania and elsewhere, including Congo Brazzaville where HTA recently closed a similar transaction with Airtel.”

In February, Airtel said it completed the sale of some towers in Rwanda and Zambia to IHS, and American Tower just announced it completed the acquisition of Airtel towers in Nigeria. Airtel said the deal will see its mobile subscribers enjoy more stable networks, higher network uptimes in which to make calls and a more universal service across the country.

IHS acquired over 200 towers from Airtel, helping the operator to leverage through significantly reducing ongoing capital expenditure on passive infrastructure. IHS has been in management of the passive infrastructure since February 1. IHS has also acquired Airtel towers in Zambia, bringing the total number of acquired towers in the two countries to 1,100.

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