The future is towerco

African ‘towercos’, like IHS & Helios, take to the skies

By Kévin Poireault

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on November 23, 2021 09:09

Firefox_Screenshot_2021-11-19T11-58-51.139Z © Maintenance work on a telecom tower in Ethiopia. Helios Towers/2020.
Maintenance work on a telecom tower in Ethiopia. Helios Towers/2020.

Operators are quickly outsourcing their equipment so that they can concentrate on services, which is their core business. This is a godsend for telecom infrastructure providers, as they have finally managed to convince the markets that their activities on the continent are profitable.

The African telecom world has undergone a small revolution. On 4 October 2021, IHS Towers, Africa’s first telecom infrastructure provider (‘towerco’), was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Its objective is to raise around $380m in net proceeds and reach a valuation of more than $7bn, including debt. This would make it the largest ever listing for an African company.

Portfolio diversification

This listing comes less than two years after that of its competitor Helios Towers, which has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since October 2019. The two towercos had first tried their luck back in 2018 but then gave up, notably because of the instability of the African markets in which they operated. Today, they have diversified their portfolio and are enjoying strong growth.

IHS has nearly 30,000 towers in five African countries (Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Zambia and Rwanda) as

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime