Airtel Rwanda and IHS, Africa’s leading independent mobile telecommunications infrastructure provider, have finalised a takeover deal of the telecom firm’s 200 towers countrywide, a move is expected to improve the telecom’s service delivery and ensure affordable rates for customers.
“IHS has a proven track record in passive infrastructure management in Rwanda and Africa... The takeover will benefit customers in terms of wider network coverage and more affordable tariffs,” Teddy Bhullar, the Airtel Rwanda managing director, said on Wednesday.
The arrangement will also enable Airtel to focus on its core business, and reduce capital expenditure on the passive infrastructure, he added in a statement.
IHS took over the management of the towers effective this month.
According to Bhullar, the acquisition will reduce the firm’s operational costs and accelerate network roll out, as well as enhance network capacity to ensure better quality service for customers.
Mobile telephone subscribers have in the past complained about dropped calls and network disruptions.
Last year, IHS took over 550 MTN Rwanda towers.
Kunle Iluyemi, the IHS Rwanda managing director, said the buy and lease deal will boost telecom infrastructure development in the country and the region generally.
“Affordable connectivity is a powerful tool to extend financial, educational and other services,” he noted.
In a recent interview with The New Times, Iluyemi said IHS, which entered the Rwandan market last year, would put up more towers (of their own) around the country and upgrade the existing ones.
By the end of last year, the firm had built 34 towers around the country, which Iluyemi said they will increase to 50 this year.
“Our investment in towers eases capital pressure on operators because they channel investment to other areas which ensures improved quality,” he said.
IHS manages over 21,000 towers in five African countries – Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Zambia and Rwanda.