Evaluation of the Economic and Legal Opportunities Concerning Critical Infrastructure

Mobile phone towers have become a separate asset class on the international capital markets, attractive to investors due to stable and secure cash flows. A few large providers are active in this highly concentrated market throughout Europe. In Austria, the exploitation of mobile phone towers has only recently become an issue. Basically, from an economic point of view, five options open up for the design of the ownership structures of the publicly owned mobile phone towers. The basic scenario (1) of pure spin-off represents an improvement in relation to the initial situation, since it brings economic advantages without economic disadvantages. Of the four other options, the sale to a horizontal competitor (2) is ruled out for reasons of competition law and economics, while the sale to a "maverick" (3) is superior to the sale to a vertically integrated telecommunications company (4) for reasons of competition economics or the transfer to public ownership (5) for resilience considerations. The choice between sale to a "maverick" (3) and transfer to public ownership (5) depends on the prioritisation of objectives, whereby in the case of critical infrastructure there is a conflict of objectives between efficient resource allocation (efficiency) and resilience.