Orange Kenya offloads tower management

Telkom Kenya, which operates fixed and mobile services under the Orange brand in the country, on Friday signed a 15 year outsourcing deal with Eaton Towers for the management of its passive network infrastructure.

The tower management and leasing deal is focused on both the maintenance of existing sites and the building of new sites. This will help reduce operating costs and capital expenditure, while improving network coverage and quality, as well as reducing Orange’s overall carbon footprint.

Telkom Kenya will retain ownership of its existing portfolio of over 1,000 towers while Eaton will invest in passive infrastructure upgrades and build new towers to provide Telkom with improved coverage and network quality.

The move is the latest in a series of similar deals for Orange in Africa, where sharing passive infrastructure is a key part of the strategy and similar deals have already been struck in Uganda, Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire.

“We are confident that our agreement with Eaton Towers is a step in the right direction,” said Mickael Ghossein, CEO of Telkom Kenya. “The partnership will place us in a strong position to expand our network and develop innovative new services, in particular in rural areas, helping us achieve our ambition to provide the Kenyan population with excellent nation-wide coverage and relevant offers. Through this partnership, we will be able to reduce our operational costs and, at the same time, minimise the environmental impact of our network by reducing the use of diesel fuel.”

In related news, Pam-African wholesale carrier Liquid Telecom recently acquired Rwandatel, Rwanda’s fixed line network operator.

The deal includes Rwandatel’s copper and fibre network and its customer base but excludes most of the real estate the infrastructure is built on, which remains the property of Rwandatel.

Liquid’s Pan-African fibre network spans over 13,000km across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho and South Africa.

Nic Rudnick, CEO of the Liquid Telecom Group, said: “Liquid Telecom is expanding rapidly and this is an important and strategic investment.  Rwanda is an outstanding FDI destination and we are very confident in the country’s economic future and growth prospects.”

This transaction comes four months after Liquid acquired the East African assets of the Altech Group including a controlling interest in Kenya Data Networks (KDN).

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