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Airtel Africa Expands IHS Nigeria Partnership on 3,950 Telecoms Towers

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Telecoms tower company IHS Towers and telecoms operator Airtel Africa have entered into a partnership which will see Airtel Nigeria acquire a total of 3,950 tower tenancies over the next five years.

The tenancies takeover is anticipated during 2024 and 2025, with existing tenancies covering around 6,000 sites extended until December 2031.

“The agreement includes 2,500 colocations in addition to 5G amendments and build to suit sites to be owned and operated by IHS Nigeria,” IHS Towers said in a statement.

Tenancies refer to rented spaces, which means that Airtel Nigeria will rent specific spots on communication towers from IHS Nigeria, allowing the telco to enhance its mobile network coverage.

“The expansion and renewal of our relationship with Airtel Nigeria is a testament to our continued commitment to serving our customers and the connectivity demands of Africa,” said IHS Towers Chairman and CEO Sam Darwish.

“Airtel Nigeria, as well as Airtel Africa, has been a long-term partner of IHS, and I am delighted that we continue to strengthen our collaboration to help facilitate mobile connectivity in our largest market, supporting our customers in rolling out new sites throughout Nigeria,” Darwish continued.

In line with Airtel Africa’s sustainability strategy which launched in October 2021, as well as IHS Towers’ Carbon Reduction Roadmap aimed at reducing its carbon intensity by 50% by 2030, the two companies agreed to collaborate on green initiatives.

IHS Towers Nigerian footprint

The latest partnership follows IHS Nigeria having completed deployment of 10,000km of fiber optic cables across Nigeria via subsidiary Global Independent Connect Limited (GICL) as part of its fiber-to-the-tower (FTTT) strategy in January 2024.

However, in September 2023, pan-Africa telecom operator MTN ended its deal with IHS Nigeria and signed with American Tower Corporation’s (ATC) Nigerian subsidiary instead.

IHS began life in Nigeria but is now London-based and is one of the largest telecommunications infrastructure providers in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

In November 2021, MTN announced it would sell over 5,700 towers in South Africa to IHS Towers for R6.4 billion (US$413 million at the time).

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