Vodafone mulls mobile tower sale

Vodafone could sell its masts in a bid to reduce its debt and reassure investors about the sustainability of their dividends, the FT reports.

Incoming CEO Nick Read, who will replace long-serving Vittorio Colao next month, told a conference in the US that it would consider the sale of the infrastructure if it could find the right deal.

A number of European operators have sold their towers to private equity firms in recent times, while Deutsche Telekom is also considering such a move.

Vodafone mast sale

Vodafone has 110,000 towers across its European markets and directly controls half of them. It is estimated that these are worth €12 billion, a figure which would help ease debts of €31 million and ease any concerns among shareholders.

Read reportedly said that the tower sale was “a consideration” and that although Vodafone was investigating the feasibility of such a transaction, there was nothing to announce.

TechRadar Pro understands that no talks have taken place so far and that Vodafone is under no rush to push through a deal and that it would only be willing to divest the assets should both the finances and the terms of the transaction be appropriate.

Read joined Vodafone in 2001 as UK Finance Director and rose to UK CEO before assuming his current position of Group CFO.

Colao helped Vodafone navigate tricky regulatory waters and declining European revenues to transform Vodafone from a pure-play mobile operator into what could become a leader in converged networks.

The £19 billion Project Spring investment programme has seen it expand 4G coverage across Europe, while it has built and invested in superfast broadband across the continent. Meanwhile, it sold its 45 per cent stake in US giant Verizon Wireless for £90 million back in 2014.

His final major act as CEO was to reach an €18 billion takeover of Liberty Global’s central European cable operations.

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.