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BT share price: Telco not planning tower sale

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BT Group (LON:BT.A) is not planning a sale of its towers, the group’s outgoing chief executive Gavin Patterson has told the Financial Times. The news comes after it recently emerged that the former telecoms monopoly is preparing to offload one of Britain’s biggest fleet management operations.

BT’s share price has fallen into the red in today’s session, having given up 2.36 percent to 251.90p as of 14:42 GMT. The stock is underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently trading 0.53 percent lower at 6,996.47 points.

BT not planning tower sale

The FT reported yesterday BT’s mobile unit EE holds most of its masts in a joint venture company with Three and the group’s outgoing boss Gavin Patterson had said that that means it does not need to consider a sale as it is already generating substantial synergies. The telco still has 4,000 other sites outside the joint venture as well as thousands of cabinets and buildings.

“I don’t believe there is a strong case to separate them out or spin them off,” he told the newspaper, arguing that it will need such assets heading into the 5G roll out. The former telecoms monopoly, however, is offloading other non-core assets and has reportedly appointed investment bank Lazard to undertake an auction of its fleet management arm which directly owns 33,000 predominantly BT and Openreach-branded vehicles.

Focus on cybersecurity

In other BT news, Bloomberg reported yesterday that the telco was pinning the future of its IT business on cybersecurity in a tactical retreat from storage and cloud services, where the former U.K. phone monopoly has been supplanted by the likes of Inc., Microsoft Corp and Alphabet.

“They are better at that stuff than we were, so we don’t participate any more in those spaces,” BT’s Global Services  head Bas Burger told the newswire in an interview, adding that competing directly on storage and data centres would be a losing battle.

“We have decided not to emphasize” those services, Burger told Bloomberg, adding that “we rather hook into other people’s data centres” like Equinix Inc and International Business Machines Corp.

As of 15:06 GMT, Thursday, 15 November, BT Group plc share price is 252.60p.

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