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Tanzania: Why Telecom Companies Now Selling Their Towers

Dar es Salaam — The sale of communication towers has become a common agenda for telecommunication firms because of the high costs and complexities associated with their running, analysts said yesterday.

The views come at a time when Airtel Africa Plc has agreed to sell off Airtel Tanzania’s tower portfolio in a deal valued at $175 million (about Sh400 billion).

Telecommunication towers are to be sold to a joint venture owned by a subsidiary of SBA Communications Corporation and Paradigm Infrastructure Limited.

Similarly, in 2010, Millicom International Cellular, which trades as ‘Tigo,’ agreed to sell approximately 1,020 towers to towers management firm Helios Towers.

In the transaction, Tigo got $80 million (about Sh184 billion aton the prevailing exchange rate) in cash up front and that it also retained a “significant minority interest” in Helios.

The pair also announced it would get into a long term leasing agreement with Helios providing Tigo with access to wireless towers and a build-to-suit agreement to support the company’s network expansion.