Jan 23, 2019

Vodafone and O2 signal potential sale of mast joint venture

Vodafone and O2 have signalled that they could sell CTIL, the joint venture company that controls the phone masts owned by the two companies. The two groups said on Wednesday they had agreed to expand the joint venture, which was originally formed in 2012, to build a 5G network in the UK. As part of the agreement, Vodafone and O2 said they would open up CTIL, which is a 50:50 joint venture, to new tenants for the towers and would open the door to "Potential monetisation" of the asset. CTIL, originally called Cornerstone, was not included in that plan due to its joint ownership with O2. Telefónica, O2's Spanish owner, has also been cutting costs to reduce its debt burden after a plan to sell its British mobile network to Three was blocked by regulators in 2016. The formation of the two joint ventures reduced the imperative for the UK networks to sell their masts, a trend that has taken place in many other markets. The network sharing joint ventures complicated consolidation attempts when Three tried to buy O2. The sale would have meant Three had stakes in both Vodafone and EE's network.

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