MTN expands scope of tower service, targets rural connectivity

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has reached an agreement with Global Independent Connect Limited, INT Towers Limited and IHS Towers Limited to expand the scope of their current service agreements, amend the currency conversion provision for tower services.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the telecommunication firm and published on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, explained that the company is pleased to agree to the mutually beneficial update to its agreements with IHS, adding that the changes would provide clarity for both parties on foreign exchange denomination with Naira payments, while also extending the telco’s relationship into key new areas.

What it means: With the concluded renegotiation of certain terms of its tower agreements, the telco giant can now increase focus on rural connectivity and fibre deployment. The development would also improve cost for future technology evolution and backhaul in the network, which will bear fruit in the longer term while agreeing to move the reference rate for conversions to Naira from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s official rate to the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate (NAFEX).

Moolman said, “I am particularly excited about the partnership to expand fibre connectivity and deliver accelerated rural telephony. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the huge importance of digital infrastructure, and these agreements enable us to enhance fibre networks, while rapidly connecting those Nigerians in rural areas that are currently unable to access telecommunications services.”

In 2014, MTN Nigeria took a strategic decision to sell its passive infrastructure (including towers) and focus on its core business. Although the company retains a small number of towers, it currently has agreements in place with a number of tower providers across the country, including IHS.

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