In Brief:Tower Talk: a guide to the latest major cell site developments 

Global asset management firm Brookfield is set to buy a majority stake in Reliance Infratel, the tower subsidiary of Reliance Communications (RCOM). The two are reportedly involved in bilateral negotiations, having signed a non-binding agreement in July. RCOM is to be planning to retain a 20% to 25% share of the tower firm, in which it currently holds a 96% stake. Minority shareholders such as Quantum, NSR Partners, Galleon, HSBC Daisy Investment (Mauritius), Drawbridge Towers and Investment Partners B (Mauritius) are all expected to exit with the sale. RCOM subsequently revealed that it would accelerate the sale process, having finalised a merger agreement with rival cellco Aircel. A senior RCOM executive, was quoted as saying that, with the Aircel deal out of the way, the operator could now focus on deleveraging its tower and fibre assets.

***The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) will allow public and private entities to launch trial networks utilising spectrum in the 700MHz frequency band, to help meet the growing demand for high speed internet services in the East African nation. The 700MHz spectrum was freed up by the country’s migration from analogue to digital television, which was completed last year. The CA’s Director General was quoted as saying that the increased rollout of broadband services and the proliferation of new services requires an effective and optimal use of available spectrum. ‘Enhanced capacity to meet the growing demand for frequency spectrum that supports 4G and next generation 5G networks for mobile broadband services is critical for the growth of ICT,’ he added.

***The Guyanese government is looking to salvage its disastrous ‘E-Government’ network rollout by abandoning the infrastructure in the country’s hinterland and expanding the fibre footprint in the coastal regions.The state is expected to sign a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chinese vendor Huawei in the next two weeks with a view to rolling out fibre to areas such as Linden, Bartica and Mabaruma. The agreement would also see Huawei provide additional support and training for Guyanese engineers. Meanwhile, the state has decided to abandon the non-functioning overland fibre-optic cable connecting the coastal system to Brazil in favour of satellite links. To that end, the government has invited expressions of interest (EoI) from satellite providers to determine the cost of using the technology to provide services to the country’s sparsely populated interior.

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