Mobile tower owner Cellnex has been approved to acquire the tower infrastructure of Polish cellco Polkomtel. The country’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Urzad Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentow, UOKiK) says that while the deal will see Spain-based Cellnex take control of more than half of the mobile towers across Poland, it will not restrict competition. While carrying out its investigation into the proposed deal, UOKiK sought responses from all four of Poland’s mobile network operators (MNOs), plus market regulator the Office of Electronic Communications (Urzad Komunikacji Elektronicznej, UKE).
The EUR1.6 billion (USD1.95 billion) deal was first announced in February this year. The transaction will add 7,000 towers to the Cellnex European footprint, while it is also buying active infrastructure including 37,000 radio carriers, 11,300km of fibre backbone network and a nationwide network of microwave radio links. Cellnex has also agreed to roll out 1,500 new sites for Polkomtel, mainly for 5G, at a cost of EUR600 million over the next ten years. In October 2020 Cellnex signed a EUR800 million deal to acquire a 60% stake in the infrastructure unit of Polish cellco Play.
Cellnex Deputy CEO Alex Mestre commented: ‘This acquisition is a key milestone for Cellnex. It will strengthen Cellnex’ position in Poland following the recent acquisition of towers and sites from Play. What is more, this decision will allow us to hold to our commitment to evolve the traditional tower operator model towards an integrated telecommunications infrastructure management model, combining the operation of passive elements (towers) and active elements such as transmission equipment, radio links and fibre-to-the-tower.’