EIB offers €315 mn loan to Cellnex to boost 5G development

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has inked a significant finance contract worth €315 million with Cellnex, a leading telecoms infrastructure provider, to bolster the development of mobile telecoms infrastructure behind 5G rollouts in five European countries – Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Poland.
EIB and Cellnex
This strategic partnership aims to improve and expand the coverage and capacity of high-bandwidth mobile network infrastructure, driving the digital transition in both urban and rural areas.

The project will encompass the installation of state-of-the-art telecoms infrastructure, including mobile phone masts and urban base stations. Additionally, there will be improvements to enable the infrastructure to be shared by multiple operators, facilitating more efficient usage of resources. The deployment of fiber optics will also be a priority to connect towers to each operator’s network, ensuring seamless connectivity.

A noteworthy aspect of the project is the use of distributed antenna systems, which are set to significantly increase the base station capacity. Furthermore, the project incorporates a commitment to sustainable practices, as it will implement renewable energies and energy-efficient measures in selected base stations to reduce carbon emissions and conserve energy.

Cellnex’s open-access business model will play a key role in the project’s success. By promoting the sharing of base stations among multiple operators, the number of masts required can be reduced without compromising the network’s bandwidth, coverage, or the quality of digital services provided to consumers.

The financing agreement between EIB and Cellnex is expected to mobilize a total investment of €631 million, significantly contributing to the EU Digital Decade 2030 objectives. Moreover, it will facilitate investments in digital infrastructure across both urban and rural areas of Europe. About half of the newly deployed masts will be concentrated in cohesion regions, characterized by a per capita income below 75 percent of the EU average. This approach will help bridge the digital divide in these regions, fostering socioeconomic development and growth.

“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 will increase the density of this infrastructure in cohesion regions, contributing to the EIB’s goal to foster economic, social, and territorial cohesion,” EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Felix said.

“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,” Cellnex Chief Financial Officer Jose Manuel Aisa said.

The collaborative effort between the EIB and Cellnex signifies a significant step towards realizing the EU’s digital ambitions and ensuring that cutting-edge telecoms infrastructure and services are accessible to all citizens across Europe. With the project’s focus on sustainability and inclusive development, it promises to pave the way for a more connected and digitally advanced future for the continent.

Left to right: Cellnex CFO, José Manuel Aisa; EIB Vice-President, Ricardo Mourinho Félix; Cellnex CEO, Marco Patuano; Cellnex Global Finance Director, Isard Serra; Cellnex Global Corporate Governance, Legal financing and M&A Director, Virginia Navarro.