EIB and Cellnex sign €315 million loan to support 5G infrastructure rollout and European digital transition

27 Jul 2023 | Network Updates | Update from European Investment Bank
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

  • The loan will unlock €631 million of total investment in mobile telecoms infrastructure in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Poland.
  • The financed project will accelerate Europe’s digital transition and promote investment in telecoms infrastructure in cohesion regions.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €315 million finance contract with Cellnex to support the development of the mobile telecoms infrastructure behind 5G rollouts in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Poland. The loan will mobilise total investment of €631 million to improve and expand the coverage and capacity of very high bandwidth mobile network infrastructure in these countries, helping to speed up the digital transition in both urban and rural areas.

The project will include new telecoms infrastructure such as mobile phone masts and urban base stations, improvements to enable the infrastructure to be shared by multiple operators, fibre rollout to connect towers to each operator’s network, distributed antenna systems to significantly increase base station capacity and the use of renewable energies and other energy efficiency measures in selected base stations to save energy and cut the CO2 emissions of the network.

The project is an example of the open-access business model typical of passive telecoms infrastructure providers like Cellnex. This model encourages the use of base stations shared by multiple operators, reducing the total number of masts required without having a negative impact on the bandwidth or coverage of the network or the digital services provided to individuals.

The project will make a major contribution to the EU Digital Decade 2030 objectives and will promote investment in the infrastructure needed for the digital transition across urban and rural areas of Europe. Around half of the new masts will be installed in cohesion regions (regions where per capita income is less than 75% of the EU average), thereby helping to close the digital divide and generate socioeconomic benefits in the areas concerned. This is the second operation between the EIB and Cellnex to drive the development of mobile telecoms infrastructure in Europe.

The agreement was signed today in Barcelona by EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix and Cellnex Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Development Director José Manuel Aisa.

“This finance contract enables the EIB to support a major project that will help accelerate the European digital transition,” said EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix. “We are very happy to work with Cellnex on this loan aiming to expand and optimise mobile telecoms infrastructure in five European countries including Spain. This infrastructure — particularly the 5G rollout — is vital to the digital transition and to accelerate access to digital services for all, regardless of location. The agreement signed today will also increase the density of this infrastructure in cohesion regions, contributing to the EIB’s goal to foster economic, social, and territorial cohesion.”

Cellnex Chief Financial Officer José Manuel Aisa stressed that “this new agreement with the EIB strengthens our partnership with one of the European Union’s most important bodies and shows the company’s commitment to contributing to the digital and technological development of the EU. This financing will enable us to continue supporting our clients with the rollout of new sites, ensuring the efficient and seamless deployment of 5G in several countries. We are also very happy with the characteristics of the operation, which has a long maturity and competitive interest rate, allowing us to improve our average debt maturity.”

This article was first published on 24 July by the European Investment Bank.

Never miss an update from Science|Business:   Newsletter sign-up