Just before India’s biggest telecom mergers, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have decided to sell their standalone telecom tower assets to ATC Telecom Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd in a $1.2 billion deal.
The telecom tower assets of the two key telecom players span across India. They have a combined portfolio of approximately 20,000 towers with a combined tenancy ratio of 1.65x as of 30 June 2017.
“Both Vodafone India and Idea as customers, and ATC TIPL as a mobile network infrastructure provider have agreed to treat each other as long-term preferred partners, subject to existing arrangements. The parties will work together to further the expansion of high-speed mobile networks in India,” said the companies in a statement.
Under this deal, Idea Cellular will sell its entire shareholding in ICISL (Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Ltd). Once the completion of the sale of tower businesses and the proposed Ideal Cellular and Vodafone India merger goes through, Vodafone India will receive $592 million, while Idea will get $615 million.
“After Vodafone India and Idea have completed their merger, around 6,300 colocated tenancies of the two operators on the combined standalone tower businesses will collapse into single tenancies over a period of two years without the payment of exit penalties,” the companies said.
The sale of standalone tower business to ATC is expected to be completed by the first half of 2018. It’s also subject to necessary regulatory approvals.