3 December 2012

Tanzania: Telecom Firms Urged to Share Towers

Dar es Salaam — Helios Towers Africa (HTA), the leading autonomous telecom towers companies in Africa has advised mobile phone operators to share telecom towers as it works to cut cost of the cellular phone infrastructure.

Besides the cost of the mobile phone infrastructure, the shared telecom tower will also help to improve communication capacity and the rapid growth in data traffic, the Chief Executive Officer of Helios Tanzania, Mr. Norman Moyo said in Dar es Salaam last week.

Moyo noted that without an increase in the sharing of the tower infrastructure, the number of telecoms towers will have to double over the next five years from 75,000 to 150,000 and that is just for 2G traffic.

He added the increase in demand for retail and corporate data as well as internet services in both urban and rural areas is creating a unique opportunity for mobile operators to accelerate rollout of services through tower sharing.

"Infrastructure sharing is also expected to impact positively on quality of service across operators as they leverage on existing infrastructure to boost their coverage and capacity requirements," Moyo said.

According to Moyo, after a decade of massive growth, the African mobile telecoms sector is entering a period of consolidation and reorganization.

"One of the main advantages of mobile telecoms over landline technology is the reduced cost of providing infrastructure, he said, adding that tower sharing is becoming a popular option to reduce the cost of mobile infrastructure."

Delivering a presentation on models and strategy for effective telecoms infrastructure sharing during the 2012 AfricaCom symposium at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, the Chief Executive of Helios Towers Africa, Mr. Charles Green said, timing is right because of the infrastructure investment deficit in most sub-Saharan African markets.

"Unless telecoms infrastructure investment in Africa increases, it will be impossible to serve the burgeoning levels of consumer demand for 2G voice, Green said, adding that let alone the site densification required for 3G coverage, improved capacity and the rapid growth in data traffic.

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