American Tower in talks to acquire and lease back Cellcom and Pelephone infrastructure?

6 May 2014

American Tower Corporation is reportedly in talks with Israeli mobile network operators Cellcom and Pelephone with a view to acquiring the duo’s mobile infrastructure and leasing it back to them. According to Globes Online, such a development could reduce costs for both Pelephone and Cellcom, while allowing the pair to avoid requiring regulatory approval.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in December 2013 Cellcom entered into an agreement with both Pelephone, the wireless subsidiary of fixed line incumbent Bezeq, and Golan Telecom for the construction and operation of a shared 4G radio network. Further, at that date it was revealed that Cellcom and Pelephone had also struck a deal under which they would share passive elements of cell sites for existing networks. Later that same month, and following suggestions that Israel’s Antitrust Authority may not approve the planned joint network, it was claimed that Pelephone and Cellcom were preparing for a legal battle.

Meanwhile, Pelephone and Cellcom are said to be seeking other ways to cuts costs through infrastructure collaboration. To that end, it has been said that one option being examined is an increase in the passive collaboration between the pair, such as 3G network sharing through antennas alone.