Companies

US telecoms firm earns Sh2.8bn from leasing masts to Airtel, Telkom Kenya

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Summary

  • The American Tower Corporation (ATC) earned Sh2.8 billion ($27.3 million) last year for leasing telecommunications infrastructure to firms such as Airtel Kenya.
  • Its revenues jumped nearly fourfold from the Sh741 million ($7 million) the company generated in 2018 as more firms leased its towers.
  • Telcos like Airtel have turned to leasing to boost their network quality and increase coverage across the country.

The American Tower Corporation (ATC) earned Sh2.8 billion ($27.3 million) last year for leasing telecommunications infrastructure to firms such as Airtel Kenya.

Its revenues jumped nearly fourfold from the Sh741 million ($7 million) the company generated in 2018 as more firms leased its towers.

Telcos like Airtel have turned to leasing to boost their network quality and increase coverage across the country.

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listed ATC says in latest filings it owns 2,060 telecommunication towers in Kenya.

Out of this, 723 of the towers were acquired by the US firm from loss-making Telkom Kenya in 2018. The company has further revealed it is expected by Kenyan regulators to offload 20 percent shareholding within the third year of its operations in Kenya.

"In Kenya, our regulator requires all holders of a commercial licence to issue at least 20 percent of their shared within three years of receiving the licence unless a waiver is obtained," the company said in regulatory filings.

The company that owns and operates wireless and broadcast communications infrastructure in several countries in May 2018 reached an agreement to acquire the towers from troubled Telkom Kenya for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition was made through its local subsidiary ATC Kenya.

Acquisition of the assets gave the US multinational a presence in Kenya, nearly a decade after making its foray into East Africa through similar acquisitions in Uganda and Tanzania.