According to a media report, Deutsche Telekom is holding initial talks with its competitors Vodafone and Orange about merging the radio tower divisions. This is reported by the business news agency Bloomberg, citing negotiating circles. The Spanish infrastructure operator Cellnex is also interested in merging its radio towers with those of Telekom. This makes a major merger of the European telco infrastructure more likely. Telekom did not want to comment on the dpa.
The talks were still going on reports Bloomberg further. However, there is still the possibility that Telekom will choose an alternative solution for its radio tower subsidiary. Telekom boss Tim Höttges had recently thought openly about possible scenarios for Deutsche Funkturm GmbH. Among other things, Telekom had not ruled out an IPO for the radio tower subsidiary. The companies involved declined to comment on the report to Bloomberg.
A consolidation of the infrastructure subsidiaries of the large European telcos has been on the cards for some time. Telcos like Orange, Telefónica, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom have spun off their cell towers into subsidiaries. Vodafone had its radio tower subsidiary Vantage Towers listed on the stock exchange last year. The climate for an IPO is good: the telecommunications sector is popular with institutional investors, and the infrastructure is considered a safe investment with a long-term perspective.
Vodafone CEO Nick Read had already offered his radio tower subsidiary Vantage Towers on the marriage market – explicitly naming Orange and Deutsche Telekom. Vodafone is actively looking for possible takeover candidates or a major partner for a merger, the company announced on Tuesday. He prefers a merger, said Read.
In Germany, Telekom owns a good 30,000 cell phone sites, including towers, masts, rooftop locations and small cells, which are grouped under Deutsche Funkturm GmbH. There are also 7,000 locations in Austria and some in other European countries. Vantage Towers operates around 82,000 radio towers in Germany and nine other European countries. The French network operator Orange spun off its radio towers into the company Totem in spring 2021, which operates around 26,000 locations.