We are moving on from an era in which telecom operators have needed to maintain ownership of their own networks in order to compete. Now, we are heading into a new, complex ecosystem of multifaceted partnerships combining new entrants such as private equity and platform operators. 

It’s hard to think of a time when demand, funding appetite, technological advance and human circumstances have all aligned to create so much opportunity yet such uncertainty.

The 2021 edition of the CMS network sharing study is out now and includes summaries of some of the key network sharing deals taking place in 38 markets since July 2017.

Having analysed over 90 deals, we look at how policy, regulation, structures and financing, security and competition are evolving in order to encourage ubiquitous next-generation coverage, and fit ever more specific business cases. Our aim is to help operators and investors enter the 5G era using the best tools and structures to tackle a myriad of different challenges and opportunities.

What emerges is an imbalance of regulatory guidance affecting consumer-facing actions and a lack of guidance for investors when it comes to network sharing agreements. There are now calls for an explicit change in regulatory approach, in order to overcome current uncertainty among market players.

At CMS, we believe that a shift from network-based competition to a more service-based approach will lead to a flourishing of next-generation connectivity that also makes good business sense.

We are most grateful to Michel van Bellinghen (Chair 2021, BEREC), Juan Velázquez Saiz (General Counsel, Orange), Amy Wettenhall (SVP, Macquarie Group) and Ronan Kelly (CTO, EMEA and APAC, Adtran) for sharing their expertise in four thought-provoking interviews.

You can read the study online now, and view notable deals in our interactive map www.cms.law/networksharing