Vodacom sells Tanzania phone towers to Soros-backed company

Infrastructure disposals can help wireless carriers, like Vodacom, reduce costs and focus on customer services and marketing. (Gallo)

Infrastructure disposals can help wireless carriers, like Vodacom, reduce costs and focus on customer services and marketing. (Gallo)

Vodacom Group, Vodafone Group's African mobile-phone operator, agreed to sell 1 149 phone towers in Tanzania to an infrastructure company backed by investors including billionaire George Soros.

The wireless carrier, South Africa’s largest, will obtain a 24.5% stake in the tower company, Helios Towers Tanzania, as part of the deal, according to a statement from Helios today.

No financial details were disclosed. Helios Towers Tanzania is a unit of Helios Towers Africa.

Infrastructure disposals can help wireless carriers reduce costs and focus on customer services and marketing.

Johannesburg-based Vodacom, seeking to boost earnings as revenue from domestic voice connections falls, will lease back the towers from Helios.

The deal expands Helios’s network to 4 700 towers across the continent and more than doubles its presence in Tanzania.

Investors in Helios Towers Africa include billionaire Soros’s Quantum Strategic Partners, Albright Capital Management LLC, RIT Capital Partners and International Finance Cororation.

The agreement is valued at about $75-million, the Financial Times reported on Monday, without saying where it got the information. – Bloomberg

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