Eaton Towers, an emerging African telecom operator, has raised $350m to fund its expansion across the continent. The company, which builds and operates telecom towers for mobile phone networks, has also signed a deal to buy 2,000 towers from Mobinil in Egypt.
The funding for its expansion was provided by the Capital Group Private Markets, Eaton’s controlling shareholder, and a consortium led by Ethos Private Equity and Standard Chartered Private Equity. “Five or six years ago there was a reluctance, but I think that the increased load on the networks,” said Mr Terry Rhodes, Eaton Towers’ CEO.
Rhodes was shedding light on the progress made in convincing network operators to share their fixed assets. “As more customers come on, want more services and particularly more data, then networks need to do more to cut their costs and focus on their services. They’ve all agreed that sharing their towers is a good way to go. We’ve signed other deals in West and East Africa which will be concluded soon.”
Mobile proliferation across Africa is expected to remain on the rise, fuelled by steady economic growth, increasing affordability of mobile devices, and the death of landlines. “The mobile business, like services in general, benefits from two deep drivers of change that are especially important in Africa – population growth and urbanization. It’s a profitable sector and will continue to be so, even more so as mobile data and smartphone technology penetrate more widely and deeply on the continent. Disposable incomes are going up, while technology and services are getting cheaper,” Francois Conradie, a South African Economist has been quoted by the BBC added.
By Emmanuel Iruobe