Efficiency and service management in Rwanda’s telecom industry could be enhanced further following the completion of MTN towers takeover by IHS Holdings Limited, one of Africa’s largest independent mobile infrastructure providers.
The contract, signed on Wednesday between IHS Holdings and MTN Rwanda, makes the firm the sole manager of over 550 MTN towers across the country.
Though MTN officials were tightlipped about the monetary value of the deal that was first announced late last year, an IHS Holdings source told The New Times that it is worth $60m (about Rwf41.4 billion.
Under the agreement, IHS will acquire and operate the towers and related infrastructure and will invest in a build-to-suit programme to support MTN’s future requirements in Rwanda.
The partnership will drive efficiency and reduce operational cost, Dr Patrick Uwizeye, the MTN Rwanda acting chief executive officer, said after signing the contract at the telecom firm’s head office in Nyarutarama, Kigali.
Uwizeye noted that this type of partnership is not a new phenomenon, saying similar partnerships have already been formed by telecom companies elsewhere in the world.
The deal follows two similar deals invoving IHS in Cameroon and Côté d’Ivoire, for a total of 1,758 towers. The firm also recently took over management of over 700 MTN towers in Zambia.
IHS Holdings Group chief executive officer, Issam Darwish, said MTN Rwanda and MTN Zambia will be the respective anchor tenants on the towers, while collocation services will be offered to the other operators in the two markets.
“We are delighted to enter new markets. This deal means that IHS Holdings footprint now covers most parts of Africa. We have worked tirelessly to exceed 99.9 per cent network uptime across the continent for MTN and will bring the same commitment to the new portfolios in Rwanda and Zambia,” Darwish said.
He disclosed that over the past two months, IHS Holdings has secured $620m funding for supporting various strategic initiatives, including its expansion programme and the development of local engineering talent in Rwanda.
“IHS continues to invest in green solutions and advanced network operating centre systems to drive efficiency for its customers.
Continual investment in alternative hybrid fuel solutions, including solar technologies, is significantly reducing our carbon footprint and further enhancing market leading performance,” he said.