American Tower is acquiring as many as 723 towers from Telkom Kenya, marking its entry into the East African market.
William Hess, American Tower president of EMEA and Latin America, said: “We are excited to announce the launch of operations in Kenya… this represents American Tower’s seventeenth market globally, and our fifth in Africa, and we look forward to helping expand the reach of mobile broadband.”
Hess noted that Kenya was a “very attractive market and we have high expectations for its long-term growth potential.” Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is likely to close in the second half of 2018.
Telkom Kenya has stated that it will reinvest the funds from the sale into its 4G network and IT platforms to meet its customers’ demands for “higher quality and speed from our mobile data networks as well as a richer range of services”.
Recent reports have indicated that Telkom Kenya will fold some of Airtel Kenya’s operations into its own, ahead of a full takeover of the Indian operator’s Kenyan unit. Merging with Airtel would better position Telkom Kenya to compete with market leader Safaricom.
Safaricom is hugely dominant in Kenya with a 71% share of subscribers. Telkom Kenya has around 10%; combined with Airtel’s subscribers this figure would increase to 18%.