Essar sells Indian cell tower unit

Wireless infrastructure operator American Tower Corporation (ATC) said Wednesday it has agreed to acquire a further 4,450 wireless communications sites in India via the purchase of Essar Telecom Infrastructure.

ATC’s Indian subsidiary, Transcend, will acquire the firm for a total consideration of $430m. The move will almost triple ATC’s presence in India, where it already operates around 2,550 sites. Essar’s site portfolio averages approximately 1.8 tenants per tower, ATC said.

The move comes as no surprise as operators across the Indian mobile industry attempt to drum up funds to participate the country’s forthcoming auction of 3G spectrum.

Last month, India’s biggest communications infrastructure operator, GTL Infrastructure, took over the tower assets of local carrier Aircel in a deal valued at $1.84bn. Under the agreement, GTL will take over 17,500 existing towers and will take over rights to roll out 20,000 more.

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