Energy firm E.On has founded a new subsidiary to build cell towers across Germany.
E.On TowerCo GmbH has been set up to convert electricity pylons throughout Germany into radio pylons for the 4G and 5G mobile networks.
E.On said it has more than 100,000 high-voltage and medium-voltage towers across Germany that could additionally be potential radio masts, while the roofs of the Group's own real estate and land are also included in the planning process.
The company said new construction of additional radio masts is planned at locations where conversion is not possible for technical reasons.
“We are using our existing infrastructure to improve mobile communications in Germany in order to eliminate ‘white spots’ in network coverage quickly and cost-effectively. Combining existing power poles with mobile communications facilities is also more sustainable than building new ones," said Bernd Böddeling, Senior Vice President at E.ON SE and responsible for the German network business.
The company said the construction and approval process for new radio masts can take months, but no approval is required for the use of existing power poles, and E.On TowerCo is currently preparing several pilot projects planned in the vicinity of highways and railroad lines.
Carsten Lagemann and Stephan Drescher are the managing directors of E.ON TowerCo. and negotiations and contracts are currently being concluded with several mobile network operators. The first projects are scheduled to go into operation in 2022.
E.On already has a German telecommunications subsidiary, e.discom, and in 2019 announced it was investing €130 million into its own broadband network in Brandenburg. The company now also has a network in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
In May, France’s state-owned railway operator SNCF launched a new subsidiary to offer fiber services using the spare capacity of its existing infrastructure running alongside its railways.