Yet another example of the growth of the infrastructure leasing model in the telecommunications world comes from Kenya, where a major name is hoping to interest a number of big local operators in its tower offering.
According to the African Business Daily news site, telecommunications infrastructure firm Atlas Towers Kenya is investing nearly $50 million to install 4G towers. It will be targeting mobile network operators Safaricom, Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya.
The timing is clearly no coincidence, with all three operators still working on rolling out 4G to a subscriber base within which smartphones are gaining an ever higher percentage of the market.
The project’s cost is said to be $48.9 million. Business Daily quotes the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as saying that it will provide $14 million on its own account and mobilise $11 million under IFC’s Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program. Both investments will be in the form of a senior secured loan. The balance will be provided through equity and internally generated funds.
This move is not a big surprise – nor is it likely to be the last such deal. Mobile operators have been selling off much of their infrastructure in recent years, freeing up capital and allowing them to lease towers from independent providers operating dedicated infrastructure businesses.