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

Tower Talk: a guide to the latest major cell site developments
A consortium of US-based private equity firm KKR and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are reportedly the frontrunners to take over Bharti Infratel, the tower arm of India’s largest cellco by subscribers, Bharti Airtel, the Economic Times writes. The duo are now considered the strongest candidates to acquire the tower company after exclusive talks with Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management ended inconclusively. For its part, Brookfield has already agreed to acquire the tower business of another Indian cellco, Reliance Communications (RCOM), in October this year. Airtel, which owns a 71.96% share of Infratel, has not disclosed how much of its stake it is looking to sell, although several sources have suggested it is aiming to divest around 40% of the company’s shares, despite interest from potential bidders in a larger stake of 51%. In addition to its own towers, Infratel also holds a 42% stake in Indus Towers.

***Indian infrastructure company Indus Towers, a joint venture between Vodafone India, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, is planning to invest INR1 billion (USD14.73 million) to construct 500 new sites across the country within the next year. The new sites are camouflaged and connected to the national grid, with a battery as a backup electricity supply, and can also be used to charge electrical vehicles.The sites are 10%-15% more expensive than traditional towers,the official noted,adding that the rollout is part of the company’s plan to eliminate its reliance on diesel generators for backing up its towers.

***Telefónica has ordered a virtualised network from Chinese vendor ZTE to provide 4G voice services in Latin America.ZTE will build the network in seven countries –Costa Rica,Ecuador,El Salvador, Guatemala,Nicaragua,Panama and Uruguay –to provide voice over LTE (VoLTE)and voice over Wifi services for Telefónica customers.
Most LTE networks still carry voice as 3G services. VoLTE moves voice calls into IP, and allows high-definition audio quality.
The installation will be part of Telefónica’s Unica virtualisation project."ZTE will gradually create a simpler, more flexible and more open network for operators," said Ziyang Xu, president of ZTE’s telecom cloud and core network products.

***Satellite company OneWeb has raised $1.2 billion in funding to start production of the first of 720 satellites designed to provide global internet access. SoftBank is the main new backer of the project, providing $1 billion of the extra funding.
OneWeb plans to launch its first 10 production satellites "in early 2018", said founder and chairman , welcoming the new investment. "Six months later we will begin our full launch campaign and start providing low latency broadband access as early as 2019."
The company is building the satellites over four years in a new factory in Florida, which will be designed to complete 15 a week. The 125kg satellites will orbit only 1200km above the earth’s surface, reducing latency to a few milliseconds.

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