Digital Colony created a new platform in the U.K. – the FreshWave Group. Can you talk about the investment strategy behind it and why it made sense to create a single platform? What is the value proposition?
Our investment thesis for the FreshWave Group centers on U.K. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) needing an alternative option to deploy their networks rather than the region’s incumbent, traditional tower companies. The U.K. is experiencing rapid growth in mobile data usage, and MNOs need help in deploying new towers and small cells. Additionally, indoor mobile coverage continues to be a huge pain point in the market.
The FreshWave Group offers MNOs in the U.K. a neutral-host wireless infrastructure platform. It’s a much more cost-effective way to deploy a network. We can help them deploy their networks so they don’t necessarily have to lay new fiber, build a new tower or install another small cell.
When we evaluate investments, we look at smaller businesses where we can help achieve scale, or larger businesses with scale where we can enhance its capabilities and performance. We also look for opportunities in the market to help our customers solve problems.
With the FreshWave Group, we acquired four smaller companies, already industry-leading U.K. wireless connectivity businesses in their respective fields, and consolidated them into a platform that now can deliver solutions across macro towers and indoor and outdoor small cells. The FreshWave Group is made up of StrattoOpencell, which is the U.K.’s leading indoor mobile signal service provider; iWireless Solutions which provides outdoor small cells and wireless connectivity in large and high-profile venues; and Spyder Facilities, which is an infrastructure company with over 5,000 locations available for wireless transmission technologies.