More Africa NewsAmerican Tower and Cellnex both acquire new allies

October 11, 2022by myles0

Giant Towercos American Tower and Cellnex have opted for partnerships to help them with the next phase of their expansion.

American Tower (ATC) has its sights set on Africa and, rather than go for the kind of sweeping M&A we have come to expect from the passive infrastructure sector, it has decided to agree a multi-year strategic partnership with Airtel Africa. This will bring into play Airtel Africa’s portfolio of sites in Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Uganda, which American Tower will help to grow.

The press release goes to considerable lengths to stress how environmentally friendly and new products of this partnership will be, as well as the inevitable commitments towards connecting the unconnected. One practical consequence of all this greenery is expected to be a significant reduction in reliance on fossil fuels to power sites which, in turn, will leave them less exposed to the fuel price volatility that plagues our times.

“Over the last several years, ATC Africa has made forward-thinking investments to ensure we achieve tangible reductions in our on-site fossil fuel consumption in Africa,” said Marek Busfy, SVP and CEO of ATC Africa. “As we selectively extend the platform services we offer, we are demonstrating our commitment to introduce new and renewable sources of energy to power our sites, which protects the industry, our customers and consumers from ongoing and future volatility in fuel prices.”

“The company has once again demonstrated its commitment to creating value for customers and shareholders by subscribing to an environmentally sustainable growth model,” said Segun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa. “Airtel Africa’s corporate citizenship requires us to extend coverage to increasingly remote areas – and meeting this obligation is necessary to establishing a sustainable partnership with a like-minded industry player.

“We continue to invest in infrastructure and distribution networks across the countries where we operate to support their economies and communities. Sustainability is at the core of our strategy, driven by our corporate purpose to transform lives across Africa and support people, businesses, and governments in getting access to better connectivity.”

Meanwhile European Towerco Cellnex is teaming up with fellow Spanish multinational Ferrovial, with the aim of accelerating 5G adoption in the UK construction and transport sectors. At the core of their ‘cooperation’ is a focus on Open RAN, which they reckon offers the kind of vendor flexibility they need for the verticals in question.

“Increasingly we are seeing that industry co-operation is essential to help the UK realise its vision of a connected society,” said David Crawford, Cellnex UK Managing Director. “Cellnex UK will always be open to working with our customers to deploy innovative solutions using our infrastructure to create value, and this Open RAN deployment for Ferrovial is a great example of our ambition.”

“This collaboration with Cellnex UK and the Open RAN flexibility provides unique benefits when looking to advance how we design, build and manage projects, therefore making them safer, more efficient, and more sustainable,” said Karl Goose, Managing Director of Ferrovial Construction. “I’m excited to see the results of this relationship with Cellnex in the UK and look forward to sharing the resulting learning and best practice with other areas of the business.”

That last bit alludes to plans for the UK collaboration to be extended international if it all goes according to plan. Most of the benefit of 5G is expected to be through the digital transformation of other industries, so projects such as this should be broadly instructive. The rest of the telecoms industry will be especially keen to learn of any novel efficiencies and revenue streams all this 5G goodness creates for the sectors in question.


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