Vodafone sells mobile phone towers in India to American Tower

Idea Cellular, Vodafone to sell tower businesses to ATC Telecom for ...

Idea, Vodafone India to sell tower business to ATC Telecom Infrastructure

"After Vodafone India and Idea have completed their merger, ~6,300 co-located 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", according to an official statement read.

The deal also comes as Idea seeks to pay down debt as it prepares to merge with Vodafone India to surpass Bharti Airtel Ltd.as the country's largest phone operator by subscribers.

The standalone tower business of both companies comprises a combined portfolio of about 20,000 towers with a tenancy ratio of 1.65 as on June 30, 2017.

"We expect the addition of these two high quality portfolios to be highly complementary to our existing assets and to contribute to long-term leasing growth as India's leading mobile operators accelerate their 4G network deployments", said Jim Taiclet, ATC's CEO. Together, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India have a debt of Rs1.08 trillion.

India's telecom industry has been in a consolidation mode since past year when billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd launched its operations with free voice services and rock-bottom data tariffs.

The Board has approved the execution of a share purchase agreement amongst ATC Telecom Infrastructure, the Company and ICISL. Ascend is backed by IDFC Alternatives. Mint had reported that Idea was also in talks to sell its entire stake in Indus to another buyer with the consent of Bharti Airtel.

Shares of Idea Cellular lost 3.6% in Mumbai trading, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex closed down 0.84%.

NYSE-listed American Tower Corporation (ATC) is looking to buy 20,000 standalone. Idea's share of the sale to American Tower will be 40 billion rupees, while Vodafone India will get 38.5 billion rupees.

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