India's RCom to sell majority stake in cellphone tower network to Brookfield

TORONTO – The owner of India’s RCom wireless network says an arm of Brookfield Asset Management (TSX:BAM.A) will become majority owner of its tower infrastructure under a preliminary cash deal worth US$1.7 billion.

The towers and related infrastructure are used to receive and relay the radio signals that carry voice, video or other traffic between cellphones, smartphones and other mobile devices.

Reliance Communications Ltd. of Mumbai announced Friday that it has signed a non-binding term sheet with Brookfield Infrastructure (TSX:BIP.UN), which would acquire a 51-per-cent stake in a separate entity that would own the towers.

Brookfield hasn’t commented publicly and a representative in Toronto referred questions to RCom.

Reliance said that RCom would continue to use the national tower network under a long-term service agreement.

It also said there’s considerable potential for growing the tower business’s revenue and profit as other telecom operators increase there fourth-generation wireless offerings due to accelerated data traffic over wireless networks.