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04 June 2021
On the Pulse
Wel­come to ‘On the Pulse’ de­livered by the Glob­al Life Sci­ences & Health­care Sec­tor Group A video/pod­cast series, On the Pulse, brings to­geth­er CMS law­yers and ex­perts to dis­cuss key in­dustry top­ics...
01 June 2021
FDI and di­git­al as­sets
FDI joins com­pet­i­tion and reg­u­lat­ory rules as ma­jor con­sid­er­a­tion in di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture M&A deals With the ar­rival of For­eign Dir­ect In­vest­ment (FDI) re­gimes, a whole new lay­er of reg­u­lat­ory con­cerns is now im­posed on in­vest­ments in the com­mu­nic­a­tions sec­tor. These in­vest­ment re­view and con­trol sys­tems run un­ashamedly against the long-pre­vail­ing tide of mar­ket open­ing: they rep­res­ent the clear tri­umph of se­cur­ity con­cerns and na­tion­al in­terest over prin­ciples of free move­ment of busi­ness and cap­it­al.  In this way, reg­u­lat­ors are in­creas­ingly con­sid­er­ing com­mu­nic­a­tions in­fra­struc­ture as either:crit­ic­al na­tion­al in­fra­struc­ture, orim­port­ant na­tion­al as­set­s­This has led to a par­al­lel chain of ap­prov­al, which sits along­side any com­pet­i­tion pro­cess or cri­ter­ia, al­though the two tracks may have as­pects in com­mon. The FDI ap­provals are gen­er­ally car­ried out by a min­is­ter or gov­ern­ment de­part­ment and are more of­ten a polit­ic­al rather than a strictly leg­al pro­cess. This al­lows a wide range of dis­cre­tion, as well as less form­al­ity. Whilst most reg­u­lat­ory re­gimes have spe­cified as­sess­ment peri­ods, tim­ing can be more un­cer­tain in FDI than mer­ger con­trol pro­cesses. In ad­di­tion, FDI re­view of these trans­ac­tions de­pends on vary­ing defin­i­tions of “pub­lic in­terest”, such as pub­lic or­der, na­tion­al se­cur­ity, pro­tec­tion of in­di­vidu­al rights and sup­ply chain re­li­ab­il­ity.FDI con­trols of­ten cap­ture agree­ments, ac­quis­i­tion types and struc­tur­al mech­an­isms that may fall out­side mer­ger con­trol rules. Fur­ther­more, many FDI re­gimes ap­ply ir­re­spect­ive of any turnover or oth­er thresholds.Na­tion­al in­dus­tri­al policies have evolved quickly to re­flect the grow­ing im­port­ance of di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture and com­mu­nic­a­tions in so­ci­ety, and the new meth­ods of work­ing and liv­ing that have de­veloped dur­ing the epi­dem­ic. The pro­tec­tion of di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture and the se­cur­ity of com­mu­nic­a­tions net­works are key, for ex­ample, to the UK’s new Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity and In­vest­ment Act. This in­cludes ex­pans­ive sec­tor­al defin­i­tions and, when it comes in­to force later in 2021, will re­quire the man­dat­ory no­ti­fic­a­tion of (among oth­er deals) a broad ar­ray of di­git­al and com­mu­nic­a­tions-re­lated trans­ac­tions. Oth­er coun­tries such as Ger­many have for some time con­sidered the op­er­a­tion of IT in­fra­struc­ture, hous­ing and host­ing, con­tent de­liv­ery net­works and cloud com­put­ing ser­vices as “sens­it­ive”, re­quir­ing man­dat­ory no­ti­fic­a­tions of dir­ect or in­dir­ect in­vest­ments by non-EU/EFTA per­sons. Since May 2021, for­eign in­vest­ment in com­pan­ies de­vel­op­ing or man­u­fac­tur­ing net­work com­pon­ents also of­ten re­quire no­ti­fic­a­tion.These con­sid­er­a­tions in­ter­act in a com­plex way with new in­vest­ment mod­els for di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture. Earli­er mod­els, such as the na­tion­al cham­pi­on/dom­in­ant op­er­at­or/single net­work com­mu­nic­a­tions paradigm, have evolved in­to a broad­er eco­sys­tem.Now, there are al­most al­ways mul­tiple stake­hold­ers, both at the net­work and ser­vices level - in­clud­ing ser­vice pro­viders, net­work own­ers and op­er­at­ors (mo­bile and fixed) - as well as “over the top” play­ers that use tele­com net­works to de­liv­er com­mu­nic­a­tions and re­lated ser­vices.What’s more, a new range of fun­ders and lenders has emerged, provid­ing “neut­ral host in­fra­struc­ture” that make net­works avail­able on a “con­nectiv­ity as a ser­vice” basis. This can fur­ther com­plic­ate reg­u­lat­ors’ abil­ity to gauge the po­ten­tial im­pact of M&A on do­mest­ic in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices.With FDI con­sid­er­a­tions in­creas­ingly im­pact­ing com­mu­nic­a­tions deals, na­tion­al and re­gion­al reg­u­lat­ors will need to up­date their mod­els and guidelines in or­der to re­flect the wider range and great­er num­ber of in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vice pro­viders.
01 June 2021
5G net­work shar­ing in densely pop­u­lated areas
Com­mer­cial 5G ser­vices are start­ing to launch across Europe, fol­low­ing the first round of auc­tions and is in line with the European 5G Ac­tion Plan. There is a strong case for the next wave of 5G in­vest­ment in urb­an areas to fea­ture net­work shar­ing ar­range­ments, which have already proven use­ful in sparsely pop­u­lated rur­al areas that might oth­er­wise have been too costly for mul­tiple op­er­at­ors to serve. Across the board, net­work shar­ing en­ables op­er­at­ors to ex­tend cov­er­age at lower cost and re­duce cap­it­al and op­er­at­ing ex­pendit­ure, es­pe­cially in areas where it is un­eco­nom­ic to de­ploy sev­er­al com­pet­ing in­fra­struc­ture net­works.  Ef­fi­cient use of urb­an space  5G net­works, par­tic­u­larly in urb­an areas, will re­quire many more base sta­tions (or cell sites) than 3G and 4G have. This will sig­ni­fic­antly in­crease net­work roll-out costs, as op­er­at­ors will need to build new cell sites and RAN in­fra­struc­ture. Each new cell site will also re­quire back­haul, fur­ther adding to de­ploy­ment costs. In dense urb­an set­tings, there are few­er loc­a­tions that can sup­port phys­ic­al in­fra­struc­ture re­quire­ments. In this case, net­work shar­ing agree­ments can al­low more play­ers to of­fer 5G ser­vices in cit­ies. The costs of 5G Spec­tru­mUp­grad­ing ex­ist­ing RAN in­fra­struc­ture (masts, base sta­tions and an­ten­nae)Up­grad­ing IT and ser­vice plat­forms New high­er-fre­quency spec­trum­New in­fra­struc­ture
01 June 2021
Net­work shar­ing at a glance
Thanks to all CMS ex­perts who con­trib­uted to this com­pre­hens­ive study. Spe­cial thanks to: Ed­it­ors in Chief: Chris Wat­son, Dora Petra­nyi Au­thors: Claudia Nagy, Anne Chitan, Cristina Ci­omos, James Sam­son, Joseph Ladusans, Bruce Gav­in, Daniel Rush
01 June 2021
What is net­work shar­ing?
01 June 2021
The latest in net­work shar­ing reg­u­la­tion
In our last net­work shar­ing study, we dis­cussed the (then) ma­jor le­gis­lat­ive pro­pos­al for a 'European Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­nic­a­tions Code' (EECC) which at the time en­countered dif­fi­culties in be­ing ad­op­ted. As briefly out­lined be­low, the EECC was fi­nally ad­op­ted and entered in­to force in 2018.
01 June 2021
The Rise of Tower­Cos, Fibre­Cos and Net­Cos
One of the biggest trends in the last 12-18 months has been the di­vest­ment of pass­ive as­sets by mo­bile net­work op­er­at­ors (MNOs). While it ex­is­ted pre­vi­ously, this is now an ac­cel­er­at­ing world­wide phe­nomen­on. One cru­cial com­pon­ent is the will­ing­ness of MNOs to dis­pose of their in­fra­struc­ture in­to a newly cre­ated com­pany (some­times on a joint ven­ture basis), which op­er­ates either on a cap­tive basis or as a neut­ral host net­work opened to oth­er op­er­at­ors. The deals are of­ten backed by a whole­sale deal between the new in­fraco and the di­vest­ing op­er­at­or. There are demon­strated be­ne­fits for tel­cos opt­ing to hive off tower­cos and fibre­cos:re­lease cap­it­al­mon­et­ise as­set port­fo­li­osre­duce costs of cap­it­alre­duce capex­op­tim­ise and di­ver­si­fy sources of fin­an­cing for in­fra­struc­ture de­ploy­mentsin­crease ef­fi­cien­cies­And for in­vestors:at­tract­ive long-term op­por­tun­it­ieslow-risk po­s­i­tion­spre­dict­able re­turns and rev­en­ues
01 June 2021
In­ter­view with Juan Velázquez Saiz
Juan Velázquez Saiz is a Gen­er­al Coun­sel for Europe at Or­ange. In this in­ter­view, Juan talks about the les­sons Or­ange has learned from net­work shar­ing, and the need for na­tion­al reg­u­lat­ors to have a long-term vis­ion.
01 June 2021
Prac­tic­al as­pects of net­work shar­ing agree­ments
CMS has ad­vised elec­tron­ic com­mu­nic­a­tions op­er­at­ors and in­vestors on net­work shar­ing agree­ments over many years. Suc­cess­ful deals re­quire:lower-ro­man­sever­al months of plan­ning,pre­par­a­tion of busi­ness cases,de­tailed op­er­a­tion­al stud­ies, an­dt­hor­ough as­sess­ments of po­ten­tial be­ne­fits and risks.
01 June 2021
In­ter­view with Amy Wetten­hall
Amy Wetten­hall is Seni­or Vice Pres­id­ent at Macquar­ie Group. In this in­ter­view, Amy talks about the in­vest­ment land­scape and what the fu­ture may hold for shar­ing of dif­fer­ent types of in­fra­struc­ture.
01 June 2021
In­ter­view with Michel van Bellinghen
As part of the CMS Net­work Shar­ing Study, we are for­tu­nate to in­clude the views of Michel van Bellinghen, Chair 2021 of the Body of European Reg­u­lat­ors for Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­nic­a­tions (BEREC), in re­sponse to our ques­tions.
31 May 2021
CMS Net­work Shar­ing 4.5
On the brink of a new gen­er­a­tion