Helios Towers, Oman Towers and an investment fund partnered with IHS Towers, placed bids for passive mobile infrastructure assets held by Omantel in a deal thought to be worth around $500 million, Reuters reported.

The news website’s sources said 3,000 towers were being sold by state-controlled Omantel in an auction process. The move is in response to a Covid-19 (coronavirus) related hit to its finances.

Would-be buyers still in the frame after the second round of the auction are reportedly Helios Towers, local provider Oman Towers and state-backed infrastructure investment company Rakiza, which partnered with IHS Towers for its bid.

Omantel is the latest operator to look to raise cash from the divestment of passive infrastructure, with most similar deals including a clause to lease back the assets for a minimum term.

While some have sold-off the assets completely, other mobile players including Vodafone Group and Telefonica have chosen to retain them and generate revenue by inviting investment into a spun-off standalone tower company.