Infrastructure Firm to Invest in 4G Towers Targeting Kenyan Telcos

Atlas Tower Kenya, a Telecommunications infrastructure firm is set to install 4G towers which will be leased out to mobile network operators Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya.

The company has invested Sh5.4 billion into the venture.

The telcos have been are in a rush to provide 4G coverage to subscribers across the country in a bid to attract and retain a huge percentage of smartphone users.

Safaricom and Airtel are already mapping out the roll out plan for 5G. However, a huge chunk of the Kenyan market is still on 3G, an issue that the telcos need to address.

Atlas will secure part of the investment funding from the International Finance Corporation (IFC)

“The total project cost is estimated at $48.9 million (Sh5.4 billion) of which IFC will provide $14 million (Sh1.5 billion) on its own account,” IFC said.

“IFC will mobilise $11 million (Sh1.2 billion) as a loan provided under IFC’s Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program. Both investments will be in the form of a senior secured loan. The balance will be provided through equity and internally generated funds.”

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Leasing towers from independent providers is an affordable option for mobile network operators as it allows them to cut costs and focus on client acquisition and maintenance.

Mobile network operators in Kenya have been spending billions building, maintaining and upgrading their own towers and infrastructure annually. The telcos are now adopting to sharing of infrastructure as a way of cutting annual expenditure.

Safaricom announced last year that it would start leasing towers from third parties, despite having invested in a huge chunk of the infrastructure in the country.

“To this end, Safaricom intends to engage services of reputable suppliers for the provision of telecommunication towers for its network. The intention is to engage the suppliers in the deployment of new Safaricom towers sites,” the company said 2020.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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