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Tower Talk: a guide to the week’s major cell site developments

5 Jul 2016

Deutsche Telekom (DT) is preparing to sell its mobile towers in Germany in a deal expected to be worth between EUR4 billion and EUR5 billion (USD4.46 billion and USD5.57 billion), Reuters writes, citing two sources close to the matter. DT is in the process of spinning off its tower assets into a new company and has reportedly appointed Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to organise the sale, which it plans to launch in autumn this year. The operator is planning to send out information packs to prospective buyers and decide whether to sell the business in its entirety, or just a stake in the new towerco based on their feedback.

Indonesian tower firm Inti Bangun Sejahtera (IBS) is planning to add 1,554 towers to its existing portfolio of 4,192 sites, IndoTelko reports. The operator has set aside capex of IDR875 billion (USD66.67 million) for the expansion, 90% of which it expects to use for construction, whilst the remaining 10% has been earmarked for acquisitions.

Pakistan’s largest mobile provider by subscribers, Mobilink has signed a multi-year rollout deal with domestic tower infrastructure company AWAL Telecom. Under the deal, Mobilink will make use of AWAL’s built-to-suit model, allowing the cellco to reduce operating costs and capital expenditure. Commenting on the agreement, a spokesperson for the cellco said: ‘The partnership will enable us to expand our network in particular in remote/rural areas, helping us achieve our ambition to provide all the Pakistani population with the best network coverage and high-quality services. This agreement is an important milestone in the company’s efforts to control operating costs while adding a larger footprint for our services.’

Telecom Italia has clarified that the planned sale of a stake in its infrastructure arm Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane (INWIT) is still going ahead, despite delays, GTB reports. The announcement followed comments from the CEO of Spanish tower company Cellnex – which has entered a joint bid for a 45% stake in INWIT with Italy’s F2i – indicating that the sale had been cancelled. Cellnex CEO Tobias Martinez was quoted as saying: ‘Telecom Italia would have to officially clarify, but on our side what we understand is that the project is not going ahead. This does not mean that [Telecom Italia] has abandoned [the sale], because they have not signalled that clearly. So what we are doing is working on executing our expansion plan, regardless of the decision that Telecom Italia may or may not take on INWIT.’ In response, Telecom Italia issued a statement, declaring that it would ‘take the time it needs to assess how to best create value for INWIT.’

Spain’s Telefonica is considering delaying the planned initial public offering (IPO) of its mobile tower division, Telxius due to the volatility in the markets caused by Britain’s vote to leave the EU. Following the vote, Telefonica also shelved plans to sell a minority stake in its British mobile operator, O2. Bloomberg writes that Telefonica is now mulling postponing the Telxius IPO, which was expected to raise a potential EUR1.5 billion, in the hopes that the markets will stabilise. The operator is also considering reducing the stake on offer, a source close to the matter was quoted as saying.

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