Bharti Airtel on Wednesday agreed to sell 3,100 cell towers spread across four of its African markets to Helios Towers Africa (HTA).

For Bharti Airtel, the agreement represents an opportunity to cut debt and reduce costs. According to a report by Reuters, the deal could raise as much as $2 billion for the India-based operator.

The sale "is an important step towards the consolidation of tower assets across Africa that will drive industry-wide cost efficiencies through infrastructure sharing," said Manoj Kohli, chairman of Bharti Airtel International.

"The agreement will further help in accelerating the growth of telecom services in the continent and at the same time benefit the environment by avoiding duplication of infrastructure," he said.

As for Helios, the deal increases its footprint to 7,800 towers, making it the largest independent owner of cell towers in Africa. The company currently operates in Ghana, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also has a sister company in Nigeria.

"HTA is proud to be chosen by Airtel as its partner for the ownership and management of its existing infrastructure. This is a ground-breaking move for HTA and Airtel's decision is a significant endorsement of HTA's reputation, management team and operating track record," said Chuck Green, chief executive of HTA.