Helios Towers Nigeria, which currently controls Nigerian CDMA operator Multi-Links, has said it does not intend operating this business in the long term, Reuters reports, placing question marks over the future of the troubled division.
Helios’ core business is providing operators with access to fully managed tower sites. By operating Multi-Links, it is effectively becoming a competitor to its customers – “something not to do,” Charles Green, chief executive of Helios Towers Africa told a conference.
Helios acquired Multi-Links from Telkom South Africa after blocking a deal that would have seen the business sold to Visafone, another CDMA operator in Nigeria. Helios was able to do this because of an ongoing dispute about an infrastructure lease contract, with Telkom having opted to end funding of Multi-Links.
The towers company has not detailed its planned exit for Multi-Links, although according to Reuters, Green said that “we will end up having another operator who operates the assets.”
According to Wireless Intelligence data, Multi-Links is the smallest operator in Nigeria, with market share of less than 1 percent. The company has also been losing customers for a number of months.
The Nigerian market has a number of CDMA operators, but even the largest of these (Visafone) is dwarfed by GSM-family rivals.