MILAN Oct 18 Spanish telecoms masts group
Cellnex has approached Iliad about renting
out infrastructure to the French company when it becomes the
fourth mobile network operator in Italy, Cellnex Chief Executive
Tobias Martinez said on Tuesday.
Earlier this year Iliad agreed to set up as an operator in
Italy to provide the new competition wanted by the European
Commission in order to approve the merger of local rivals CK
Hutchison Holdings's 3 Italia and Vimpelcom's
Wind Telecomunicazione, creating new opportunities for companies
like Cellnex and its Italian competitor INWIT.
"We've introduced ourselves ... a new player means new
demand in terms of infrastructure so for us Italy right now is
very attractive," Martinez told Reuters on the sidelines of an
He added, however, that it was still early days as he did
not expect Iliad to start commercial operations in Italy before
The French operator also needs to decide whether to run its
own basic infrastructure, which can be costly, or outsource it
to providers like Cellnex, which already operates nearly 8,000
masts in Italy.
The executive added Cellnex would also look at any more
masts that might come onto the market as a result of the Wind-3
Italia merger, but added that the process would take time.
Cellnex's average tenancy ratio - the number of operators
using a single mast - stands at 1.3 in Italy, and Martinez said
there was scope for raising that closer to 2 over the coming
years by attracting new customers, dismantling duplicated
infrastructure and making the operations more efficient.
The group recently bought portfolios in the Netherlands,
France and the United Kingdom and is now focusing on
consolidating the operations, but M&A is not off the table.
"We are a very agile company, when we see a good opportunity
we go after it," he said.
Cellnex had been vying for a stake in INWIT until owner
Telecom Italia scrapped the sale earlier this year.
Martinez said Cellnex was no longer in talks for INWIT and
was not looking at Telxius, the telecom masts business whose IPO
parent Telefonica abandoned last month due to weak
"We don't know what Telefonica will decide on Telxius so we
cannot analyse its attractiveness. There is no case right now,
it's wait and see," he said, adding the same applied to INWIT.
"If it comes, then we will look at the parameters."
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak and Stefano Rebaudo; Editing by