It has been reported that out of a combined network of around 18,500 sites, the number of operational sites will be reduced to 13,000 through a disposal of around 5500 sites.
It is still early days and the main market players are, to a large extent, still coming to terms with the likely outcomes of network consolidation initiatives.
The approach being adopted by site provider agents varies but many landlords have been prepared to regear leases to obtain more secure future rental income and a stronger investment yield. Factors such as the take-up of surplus sites, progress with decommissioning and further consolidation projects will shape the degree to which the market is affected.
Consolidation activities are still in their infancy and the market has yet to determine whether there will be any noticeable change to rents.
Some landlords may be relieved to see operators go. The most complicated deals will be those where T-Mobile and H3G already occupy a site but in their own names. Where sites are to be vacated, landlords are generally entitled to full re-instatement of their premises. Should both parties agree, these situations offer the opportunity for a negotiation and financial settlement.
It is clear that further consolidation will take place both in terms of networks and most likely other operators. Vodafone and Orange had similar discussions before T-Mobile and H3G but could not complete a deal. Those site providers which embrace the changing market place, and are prepared to work in partnership with the operators where terms can be agreed, will be best placed in the future.
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