Bouygues plans 4,000 rural telecoms towers across France

Bouygues plans 4,000 rural towers across France in investment with Phoenix

26 March 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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French mobile operator Bouygues is to build 4,000 towers across rural parts of the country, in association with Phoenix Tower International.

All 4,000 will be built over a planned 12 years, said Phoenix, in a move that significantly expands its footprint in France.

Some of the sites will be deployed as part of Bouygues Telecom’s so-called “new deal mobile” regulatory obligations of targeted mobile radio coverage improvements, accelerated mobile radio rollouts alongside transport routes.

Jean-Paul Arzel, head of network division, explained: “This agreement allows Bouygues Telecom to sustain its efforts in sites deployment in Less Dense Areas and also to meet the New Deal requirements. It will also contribute to considerably strengthen our Mobile network coverage in rural areas.

It is one of the largest deals done by Phoenix, which runs more than 86,000 pieces of network infrastructure – though, according to its website, only 8,000 towers so far.

Phoenix CEO Dagan Kasavana said: “We are quite enthusiastic to partner with Bouygues Telecom on such an important and exciting project. We believe the French market is well positioned for significant wireless growth throughout the country as further 4G and 5G deployments are made over the coming years and we are proud of our participation in these deployments.”

Phoenix, which is owned by the Blackstone private equity investor, and Bouygues Telecom have established a long-term partnership in the form of a Phoenix-controlled joint venture which will own and operate the sites.

Jasvinder Khaira, a senior managing director in Blackstone Tactical Opportunities, suggested there might be more such investments: “Phoenix will continue to look for creative ways to support the coverage requirements of carriers and usher in the 5G technology revolution across Europe and the Americas.”

He added: “Phoenix’s landmark partnership with Bouygues Telecom is consistent with [Phoenix’s] position as the preferred partner for carriers worldwide.”

In 2018 Altice Europe agreed to sell its Dominican Republic tower assets to Phoenix Tower International, in a deal which valued the business at $170 million.