Deutsche Telekom is reportedly exploring the possibility of selling or spinning off its tower assets in Europe, becoming the latest mobile operator to seek ways to monetise its passive network infrastructure.
Bloomberg says the German operator is working with advisers on a series of possibilities – including a strategic partnership with another major European telecoms group, possibly Vodafone or Orange.
Vodafone has already spun off its tower assets into Vantage Towers, which went public last year, and a formal tie up with either operator would either establish or strengthen a major player in the European market.
Discussions with infrastructure firm Cellnex have also reportedly taken place, opening the possibility of the Spanish company adding German and Central European assets its ever growing portfolio of sites across the continent. Cellnex has acquired the majority of Three’s parent company CK Hutchison’s tower assets in Europe, however a deal in the UK has yet to be approved by regulators.
All four parties have been contacted for comment by TechRadar Pro.
Many operators have sought to either sell or spin off their tower assets in recent years, hoping to raise funds to invest in new networks. A sale generates immediate capital, while a separate entity or joint-venture can be more effective at monetising the infrastructure than if it stays in house.
Meanwhile, private equity firms and third party investors who can take a long term view appreciate the predictable returns and the scope for growth given the expected explosion in demand for mobile data and 5G services.
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.