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Telefónica forms rural fiber JV under Bluevia brand

Telefónica, after digging into its closet of brands that it no longer uses but has been unable to discard completely, revealed that the Bluevia marque is now being brushed down and repurposed for a rural fiber vehicle in Spain.

On Monday, the group confirmed a long-anticipated plan to establish some kind of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) venture in Spain, with a focus on deployments in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

The new venture aims to pass 5 million premises in rural regions by 2024.
 (Source: REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo)
The new venture aims to pass 5 million premises in rural regions by 2024.
(Source: REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo)

Telefónica is to retain a 55% stake in the new Bluevia Fibra venture via Telefónica España (30%) and Telefónica Infra (25%). An investor consortium comprising Crédit Agricole Assurances and Vauban Infrastructure Partners is to pay €1 billion (US$1.02 billion) for a 45% stake, which Telefónica said values the venture at €2.5 billion ($2.55 billion). The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of 2022.

The new venture aims to pass 5 million premises in rural regions by 2024, including 3.5 million already passed by Telefónica España. Telefónica noted that the 3.5 million premises to be sold to Bluevia represent 13% of its FTTH network in Spain. Telefónica España will retain full ownership of the remaining network.

Bluevia Fibra will also operate as a neutral wholesale company, offering wholesale FTTH access to all telcos.

As for the brand that is being used for the new venture, Telefónica originally launched Bluevia as a global developer platform in 2011, but apparently abandoned the venture a few years later.

Fiber buddies

The Spanish venture is the latest in a series of similar transactions across key Telefónica markets and builds on the fiber co-investment and wholesale model unveiled by the operator in late 2019 as part of a major organizational and strategic revamp.

Telefónica Infra CEO Guillermo Ansaldo noted that Telefónica Infra now has FTTH vehicles in Brazil, Germany and Spain "together with Telefónica's operating units in each of those countries and in partnership with top tier institutions such as Crédit Agricole Assurances/Vauban, Allianz and CDPQ respectively."


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Here, Ansaldo is referring to the German (UGG) and Brazilian (FiBrasil) fiber vehicles, which started their respective fiber deployments in 2021.

Telefónica has also set up independent fiber infrastructure companies in partnership with KKR in Colombia and Chile. In both markets, the private equity firm holds a 60% stake while Telefónica's local businesses have each retained a 40% stake.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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