Telenor Group, the incumbent telecom operator in Norway, today announced the appointment of Kaaren Hilsen as Chief Executive Officer of its newly established, 40k-site Nordic tower company, Telenor Tower Holding AS. Currently, Hilsen is CEO of Telenor Sweden and will become CEO of Telenor Tower Holding AS effective September 1, 2021. In her new role, Hilsen will advance Telenor’s carve-out of its tower and infrastructure assets as separate business lines.

Telenor Tower Holding AS – Overview

Overall, Telenor’s Nordic tower portfolio consists of 40k sites in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. Of this total tower portfolio, the company owns 30k sites (75% of total). Indeed, the company holds its tower assets through a number of different structures including towers that it leases, owns through joint ventures, and owns outright. By country, Telenor’s Nordic tower company comprises:

  • Norway: 16k total sites, of which the company owns 15k sites overall (94% of total)
  • Sweden: 12k total sites, of which the company owns 8k sites overall (67% of total), including joint ventures
  • Denmark: 4k total sites, of which the company owns 3k sites overall (75% of total), including joint ventures
  • Finland: 7k total sites, of which the company owns 3k sites overall (43% of total), including joint ventures

Tenancy Ratio

Telenor states that the average tenancy ratio of its sites varies by country from 1.0x to 1.3x. During the company’s Capital Markets Day (CMD) in 2020, then CFO of Telenor, Jørgen Arentz Rostrup, noted that for tenancy ratios, “TowerCo best practices is 1.8x” and higher. In turn, Telenor has indicated its medium- to long-term expectations of where it can increase its tenancy ratio towards. Ultimately, third-party tenancies will drive this tenancy ratio higher than current levels.

Strategy

Telenor’s approach to its towers differs by each Nordic region. For certain markets (i.e., Norway), the company does not foresee giving up control of its towers. Whereas in other Nordic markets, Telenor indicates that it may have a more “pragmatic approach” to unlocking value in its tower infrastructure portfolio.

Importantly, the company already shares its tower assets in Sweden, Denmark, and portions of Finland.

Finally, Telenor notes that it intends to disclose additional metrics for its Nordic tower operations by the end of 2021.

Adam Simmons is the Founder & CEO of Dgtl Infra. He started his career with an S&P 500-listed big box retailer, in an operations management role. Adam's entrepreneurial "itch" led him to start a 5G-driven company, focused on innovative retail solutions using augmented reality and shoppable videos, which was eventually sold to an advertising and consulting group. After, realizing the potential of 5G, Adam shifted his efforts towards investing in the "building blocks" of 5G - known as digital infrastructure, completing a number of strategic investments, buying cellular towers, data centers and fiber networks.

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