Infrastructure Sharing in Africa and the Middle East: Debt Reduction and Rural Coverage Requirements Drive Sharing

Infrastructure Sharing in Africa and the Middle East: Debt Reduction and Rural Coverage Requirements Drive Sharing


In the Africa and Middle East region, passive infrastructure sharing is finally beginning to gain momentum, primarily through the offloading of towers to independent tower management companies. Driving the trend in Africa is the need to cost-effectively reach low-density, rural areas and to lower the cost of operating network towers, which due to the exceedingly high energy costs on the continent can be exorbitant. In the Middle East, meanwhile, the need to quickly roll out state-of-the-art 4G networks will push operators into both passive and active sharing agreements. Many of the region’s largest operators, including Airtel, MTN and Orange have embraced infrastructure sharing as a way to reduce capex and opex. Others, such as Econet Wireless in Zimbabwe and Safaricom in Kenya, have butted heads with regulators over the issue of mandated infrastructure sharing.

Key Findings

  • Mobile infrastructure sharing can help MNOs reduce opex by up to XX% and capex by as much as XX%, depending on factors such as the physical landscape and the stage of mobile network deployment.
  • Regulatory authorities in many countries scrutinize infrastructure sharing deals to keep in check any anticompetitive behavior by the MNOs. In Africa and the Middle East, regulators have also been supporting infrastructure sharing in order to lower barriers to entry for new telecom players as well as help reduce the environmental impact of networks.
  • Tower offloading by mobile operators is becoming the norm in Africa and the Middle East, as it saves mobile operators significant amounts and eases the entry for new operators. By year-end 2015, roughly XX% of the region’s towers will be managed by independent tower companies, with the “Big Four” accounting for more than XX% of externally managed towers.
  • Given the growing demand for mobile and data services, the need for towers will increase in the future. The huge investments required in order to meet that need make tower sharing a logical alternative for operators. Operators can also expand their networks quickly by renting existing towers from independent tower companies.

‘Infrastructure Sharing in Africa and the Middle East: Debt Reduction and Rural Coverage Requirements Drive Sharing,’ a Telecom Insider Report by Pyramid Research, analyzes the various types of infrastructure sharing, the operational and economic benefits as well as the risks and concerns of operators around sharing their infrastructure assets. The report also explains the factors supporting and hindering infrastructure sharing, with examples from several markets in Africa and the Middle East and helps the market players:
  • Define infrastructure sharing and the various business models employed in the Africa/Middle East region.
  • Identify the operational and economic benefits of mobile infrastructure sharing.
  • Understand obstacles to mobile infrastructure sharing
  • Learn from best practices in the region.
Reasons To Buy
  •  Offers a comprehensive and detailed understanding of infrastructure sharing in the mobile telecommunications markets in Africa and the Middle East, including an investigation of the factors that are driving infrastructure sharing.
  •      Provides information regarding the local developments in mobile network deployment, management and outsourcing provide a resource for more detailed planning, while its actionable analysis of current trends offers a wider perspective.
  •      Taking a broad yet detailed perspective, includes recent agreements for active and passive infrastructure sharing as well as tower offloading deals by operators, helping executives understand the markets where infrastructure sharing arrangements are more keenly pursued.
  •      The key finding enables the operators, tower companies, vendors and regulators to extract the crucial trends in network sharing in Africa and the Middle East, while its forward-looking recommendations help them develop effective longer-term strategies for their networks.
  • Boasts of presentation quality that allows it to be turned into presentable material immediately for the executive-level audience

Introduction: Defining infrastructure sharing
Defining infrastructure sharing
Defining passive infrastructure sharing
Defining active infrastructure sharing
Infrastructure sharing joint ventures
Operational and economic benefits of mobile
infrastructure sharing
Value proposition of infrastructure sharing
Opex savings – site rationalization
Capex efficiencies – network deployment
Capex and opex savings – tower offloading and
Coverage improvements
Obstacles to mobile infrastructure sharing, and the
threat to competition
Obstacles for mobile infrastructure sharing
Anticompetitive behaviors
Mobile infrastructure sharing in Africa and the Middle East
Mobile infrastructure sharing – global context
Operator willingness to share infrastructure in Africa and
the Middle East
Infrastructure sharing regulation in Africa and
the Middle East
Voluntary sharing agreements in Africa and the
Middle East
Tower offloading and outsourcing in Africa and the
Middle East
Major independent tower operators in Africa and
the Middle East
Market detail: Case studies
Case study: Airtel looks to share towers to reduce
its debt and cut costs in its African operations
Case study: Ministry of Communications approves
Israel’s first RAN sharing deal, between Partner
Communications and Hot Mobile
Key findings and recommendations
Key findings
Appendix: Acronyms and definitions
About Pyramid Research
List of Figures
Exhibit 1: Key factors directly affecting MNO profitability
Exhibit 2: Passive network sharing elements (a non-exhaustive list)
Exhibit 3: Compound and tower sharing example
Exhibit 4: Active network sharing elements (a non-exhaustive list)
Exhibit 5: Full RAN sharing illustrated
Exhibit 6: Common structure and objectives of mobile infrastructure sharing joint ventures
Exhibit 7: Value delivered by infrastructure sharing based on geographic setting and stage of network deployment
Exhibit 8: Typical structure of network costs in emerging markets (self-provided backhaul)
Exhibit 9: Capex efficiencies of infrastructure sharing
Exhibit 10: Risks and long-term effects of tower offloading and outsourcing
Exhibit 11: Key factors affecting mobile operators’ willingness to share infrastructure
Exhibit 12: Potential anticompetitive behaviors resulting from infrastructure sharing
Exhibit 13: Mobile infrastructure sharing level of activity by region, 2014
Exhibit 14: Willingness to share infrastructure among selected mobile operators, Africa & Middle East
Exhibit 15: Regulations on infrastructure sharing, selected markets in Africa & Middle East, 2015
Exhibit 16: Examples of voluntary mobile infrastructure sharing agreements, Africa & Middle East
Exhibit 17: Major tower offloading deals, Africa & Middle East
Exhibit 18: Major independent tower operators, Africa & Middle East
Exhibit 19: Financial results of Airtel Africa

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