The French telco joins the growing trend around the world of tower infrastructure divestment

Iliad have announced that Cellnex will purchase the majority their tower businesses in France and Italy. Cellnex will acquire 70% of Iliad’s tower infrastructure in France and the entirety in Italy.
Reports estimate that this venture will snag Iliad in €2 billion, which will likely be immediately reinvested in 5G and fibre upgrades. For Cellnex, this acquisition joins the 1,500 sites purchased from Orange in Spain earlier this month.
This trend of selling off tower infrastructure is becoming a popular one around the world. Many companies, including fellow giants Vodafone, Reliance Jio, and Telefonica, have likewise offloaded their passive infrastructure in favour of quick cash.
While this announcement was met with a small bump in Iliad share prices, the shares remain down around 50% compared to their value in May 2017. The beleaguered company, whose debts were valued at €5.06 billion in July of this year, will hope to use the €2 billion from the sale to shore up its position within the 5G landscape of 2020.
As is so often the case in these trending transactions, it is the infrastructure specialists, in this case Cellnex, who will benefit the most. Passive infrastructure will remain a key element of delivering networks long into the 2020’s, and telcos selling off their radio towers sees them risk becoming tenants of these infrastructure companies. 
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