Europe News (Apr 2015)

Poland

Aero2, owned by Poland’s Midas Group, has announced the launch of LTE services. The operator will use over 1,000 LTE-800 base stations in addition to its existing 4,170 transmitters. Midas claims its combined LTE networks now reach more than 90% of Poland’s population

UK

Hutchison Whampoa Limited, parent company of UK based operator Three, has confirmed its intention to buy British operator O2. HWL confirmed that it will acquire O2 UK for £9.25 billion, creating the UK’s largest mobile network operator with over 33 million subscribers.  The tower assets of O2 and 3 are currently managed by different infracos (Cornerstone and MBNL) so TowerXchange awaits new of their network plans with interest.

Ukraine

Kyivstar, Ukraine’s largest MNO, has released information on its future-proof Single RAN network design for new infrastructure, enabling it to upgrade to LTE simply by updating software and with meaning they do not need to upgrade hardware on their base stations, which already support 2G GSM, 3G UMTS and 4G LTE.

Romania

The largest MNO in Romania, Orange, has announced it will spend €500 million by 2018  as part of Parent company Orange Group’s €15 billion investment in their European networks in 2015-17. CEO Jean Francois Fallacher also stated that the MNO is asking for changes in Romanian regulations to oblige companies with fixed infrastructure to open access to rivals in the same way mobile networks are required to do.

France

France has called upon its MNOs to address ‘not-spots’ in rural areas within the next 18 months. Les Echos reported that France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for provision of 3G services in ‘white areas’ in this timeframe. The French government has allocated a total of €1 billion to address public services issues in underserved locations.

Croatia

Tele2 Croatia and Huawei have signed a contract to roll out 3G to all Tele2’s mobile sites and for additional passive infrastructure to be constructed in order to improve coverage. It is expected that Huawei will use its Single-RAN wireless network solution to allow for future network upgrades without additional hardware.

Italy

EI Towers’ interest in RaiWay continues, with a revised bid for a 49% stake in the company, which would allow the Italian government to retain a critical 51% stake in RaiWay themselves. EI Towers has submitted more information on the proposed €1.23 billion takeover to market regulator Consob.

Italy

Telecom Italia may consider selling their towers unit Inwit to Abertis Telecom (Cellnex) rather than following through on plans to list the company before the summer. Inwit has around 11,500 towers in their portfolio. Abertis have confirmed to TowerXchange that they are monitoring the Italian market closely, however their own plans for an IPO may complicate a potential deal.

Netherlands

Liberty Global, the Dutch operator, is expected to acquire either Vodafone Netherlands or T-Mobile Netherlands in a deal worth €3-4 billion. It is rumoured that all parties have acknowledged the need for consolidation and Liberty Global is expected to be the acquiring party. Some sources claim the deal may spark wider M&A activity in Europe, with asset swaps in other markets a strong possibility.

Spain

Abertis have formally announced the IPO of their telecoms unit, offering 55% of wholly-owned subsidiary Cellnex Telecom with an over-allotment of an additional 5.5%. Tobias Martinez, Cellnex CEO of Cellnex Telecom said “Our diversified and highly visible revenue streams, healthy pipeline of growth opportunities and experienced management team place us in an optimal position to continue our rapid growth trajectory. Looking ahead, we are seeing significant potential for growth in telecom site outsourcing in Europe with very favourable underlying market dynamics.”

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