After months of speculation, Cell C has confirmed, finally, that it is in talks to sell its national network of base stations. It’s believed the move, if it happens, will help the company further defray some of its debt.
CEO Lars Reichelt says Cell C is in discussions with three international companies that are interested in buying the infrastructure. Previously, two names had been linked to the talks — Eaton Telecom and American Tower Corp. It’s not known if these two companies remain involved in the discussions.
TechCentral broke the news in March that Cell C was considering selling parts of its base station network, and then leasing that infrastructure back from the winning bidder.
Reichelt says he is unable to disclose the names of the three companies Cell C is talking to because of confidentiality. However, what he will say it that the discussions relate only to the passive components of its base stations, not the active components, like the radio frequency equipment mounted on the towers. Cell C will continue to own and operate these components.
Cell C’s network is valuable to potential tower operators. It covers one third of SA’s geographic area and 87% of the country’s population.
Analysts have broadly welcomed Cell C’s plans, saying infrastructure sharing is a worldwide trend. As pressure mounts on operators’ revenues and profit margins, and particularly as business models shift from voice services to data, they need to find ways of reducing their operational costs. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral
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