Arqiva, the company that owns and operates the UK’s mobile masts, has agreed to sell 7400 cell towers to Cellnex for £2bn ($2.5bn).
This deal will result in Cellnex becoming the UK’s biggest independent operator of mobile masts. However, Three claims that this will result in a monopoly.
Three argues that the deal will stall investments in 5G as Cellnex will have the power to name a price for access to its sites. Whereas, previously companies like Three would be able to negotiate lower rates.
“Threatens to hinder the UK’s position”
“The proposed acquisition of Arqiva’s telecoms business by Cellnex threatens to hinder the UK’s position in the global 5G race giving Cellnex control of over 80pc of independent mobile sites in the UK," said a spokesperson for Three UK.
“At a time when operators are focused on deploying 5G as quickly as possible, the creation of a new monopoly may increase the costs of rollout, reducing investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure, negatively impacting consumers.”
Companies are already planning ways to approach 5G masts. For example, O2 and Vodafone agreed on a mast-sharing plan which will see the two networks install 5G radio equipment on a combined total of 2700 cell towers.
Meanwhile, Three hasn’t mentioned how many sites that it intends to install 5G equipment in. The companies main concern appears to be cost, with Cellnex potentially boosting prices on its acquired mobile masts.
Despite this, Three still promises 5G coverage for 25 UK cities by the end of the year.