By Noel Campion
Irish telecoms infrastructure provider Cignal has invested over €15m acquiring and building mobile and broadband communications towers in the past 18 months.
Since acquiring a portfolio of 400 sites from Coillte in 2015, Cignal has added a further 100 sites through a series of acquisitions and new site developments.
With a total current portfolio of telecoms infrastructure in over 500 key locations across urban and rural Ireland, Cignal now an 18% share of the Irish market for infrastructure supporting mobile, fixed wireless broadband communications and broadcast services.
Colin Cunningham, Cignal CEO, said:
“We have been growing rapidly through the acquisition of new tower sites and we see opportunities for further consolidation of the telecoms infrastructure sector in Ireland. The efficiencies and cost savings we can provide through hosting multiple operators is beneficial to customers and helps avoid the need for unnecessary towers being built.
Cignal’s market consolidation strategy has led to the acquisition of 30 towers from a privately-owned company in 2017, with a further 10 towers acquired from Telent in early 2018.
Telent had originally acquired these towers in 2015 as part of its acquisition of Arqiva’s Secure Solutions business.
In addition to its recent larger portfolio acquisitions, Cignal has also made several acquisitions of small portfolios and individual towers.
Cignal has also invested in and constructed multiple new sites, with a particular focus on addressing coverage blackspots and densification, making up the balance of the additional 100 new towers.
Cignal customers include all the main mobile and wireless service providers in Ireland, the emergency services and FM radio stations.
As an independent infrastructure provider, Cignal seeks to maximise the use of its tower infrastructure by hosting the equipment of multiple customers on each tower.
This has helped to reduce the cost for its customers in providing a signal to subscribers, particularly in lower density rural areas. It also helps reduce the proliferation of multiple tower sites, thus minimising visual and environmental impact.
Cignal’s investment plan is supported by its majority shareholder Infravia Capital Partners, a specialist infrastructure investor which also has interests in the Irish private hospital and nursing homes sectors.
Infravia partner, Bruno Candes said:
"The Cignal team have a clear roadmap to build its portfolio of towers and we are committed to investing to support this expansion.
"With phone and broadband users requiring faster speeds and increased capacity there will inevitably be strong demand from operators looking to provide the best network service to subscribers.”