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EBRD Joins Consortium for Mobile Tower Acquisition in Western Balkans

In a landmark move poised to transform the telecommunications landscape of the Western Balkans, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has joined a consortium to acquire a vast network of mobile towers from Serbia's state-owned Telekom Srbija

In a notable stride towards enhancing digital infrastructure in the Western Balkans, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has entered the fray as a key investor in a consortium. This group, spearheaded by Actis, a global pioneer in sustainable infrastructure investment, and including the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is set to acquire a significant tranche of mobile towers—approximately 1,800—from Serbia’s state-run telecommunications behemoth, Telekom Srbija.

This ambitious move, encompassing Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, heralds the creation of the region’s inaugural independent mobile tower entity, with its headquarters firmly rooted in the Western Balkans. Adhering to international standards, this venture is poised to revolutionise the telecommunications landscape by promoting infrastructure sharing among mobile network operators—a strategy known as colocation. This shift promises not only a rapid deployment of 5G technology across these nations but also a significant enhancement in network coverage.

Holger Muent, the EBRD’s Telecommunications, Media and Technology chief, underscored the significance of this venture. He highlighted that this investment not only caters to the burgeoning demand for dependable mobile services in these three countries but also signals a pivotal transition of telecom infrastructure from state hands to private ownership.

Backed by robust international investment, this newly minted mobile tower company is expected to be a catalyst for innovation and heightened market competition. Additionally, it aims to elevate the efficiency and sustainability of telecom infrastructure while embedding best practices in corporate governance.

To date, the EBRD’s financial commitments in the Western Balkans have surpassed €17 billion, predominantly bolstering the private sector. The region remains a focal point for the EBRD, where it stands as the largest institutional investor, reaffirming its commitment to the economic and technological upliftment of the Western Balkans.

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