US firm in $430m SA mobile tower deal

5 November 2010

South African mobile operator Cell C is to sell 3 200 of its cellular base stations to US firm American Tower Corporation for around US$430-million (about R2.9-billion).

Cell C will be the anchor tenant on each of the telecommunications towers purchased by Boston-based American Tower, including 1 400 existing towers and up to 1 800 additional towers that are either under construction or will be constructed over the next two to three years.

“This is an important strategic transaction for Cell C, allowing us to realise the value embedded in our passive infrastructure, which has undergone a significant transformation over the past few years,” Cell C CEO Lars Reichelt said in a statement this week.

“We believe our relationship with American Tower will enable us to further enhance the quality and coverage of our network.”

Platform for future growth

American Tower, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is an independent owner, operator and developer of broadcast and wireless communications sites.

It currently owns and operates approximately 33 000 communications sites in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Mexico and Peru.

“We are pleased to announce the launch of our operations in South Africa, as well as the opportunity to work with Cell C,” American Tower CEO Jim Taiclet said this week. “We believe South Africa provides a compelling investment opportunity for us, with strong demand for voice and advanced wireless data services.

“In addition, our newly established presence in South Africa will provide us with a platform for our future growth in the region.”

American Tower and Cell C expect to close the sale of the existing towers by early 2011, subject to customary closing conditions.

SAinfo reporter

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