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Helios announces ground-breaking leaseback deal in Tanzania

Helios Towers Africa, the leading independent telecoms tower company in the continent, was Friday granted a licence by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to independently operate a network of telecoms towers in the country.

HeliosTowers chief executive Charles Green made the announcement at a press conference, saying the licence confirmed the completion of Tanzania’s first tower sharing leaseback deal.

“We are very pleased to be at the forefront of such an exciting and important new phase in Tanzania’s telecoms industry,” said Green, noting that Helios Towers pioneered independent tower sharing in Africa as “the best way to ensure accessibility, affordability and the highest quality of communications service through increased efficiency and competition.”

“We have seen significant success with our operations in Nigeria and Ghana and we look forward to bringing the same experience and benefits to Tanzania,” he added.

According to the CEO, the shared tower network would deliver significant benefits to the Tanzanian market, notably providing higher quality service coverage, including in rural communities.

The tower sharing plan also allows increased competition between operators, lower costs for customers, and improves environmental conditions by reducing the number of towers built.

This transaction follows the successful launch of Helios Towers Africa’s business in Ghana where, in 2010, the company pioneered Africa’s first sales and leaseback deal, with the purchase of 735 towers from Millicom.

Meanwhile, Simon Horner, CEO of Helios Towers Tanzania, said: “This deal marks a significant moment in the development and growth of Tanzania’s telecoms industry. We are deeply committed to delivering the greatest value to all telecoms operators and their customers across Tanzania.

“Helios Towers Africa has the unique experience, scale and quality of management to ensure the best deal is achieved for all concerned,” he added.

Helios Towers Africa purchased 1,180 telecoms towers from Tigo Tanzania, the local operation of South Africa’s Millicom International Cellular in December 2010.  

Tigo Tanzania will receive US$ 80 million upfront and will retain a significant minority interest in the company.  Helios Towers has also purchased 729 towers from Millicom in DR Congo.

Created by an African-focused private equity firm, Helios Investment Partners, Helios Towers Africa became operational in 2009 and pioneered Africa’s first sale/leaseback transaction in 2010. It currently owns and manages over 3,500 towers across the continent.  

Helios Towers Nigeria, an affiliate company, became the first independent tower company in Africa in 2005.

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