Spark New Zealand finalised a deal to sell a 70 per cent stake in its newly-established tower business to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board for NZD900 million ($549.3 million), advancing a shift towards the digital services sector.

The operator secured an agreement with the subsidiary to access existing and new towers for 15 years. In a statement, Spark CEO Jolie Hodson noted it received a high level of interest in its passive mobile assets.

“We are pleased to have formed this strategic partnership.”

She explained the standalone tower business will have “a single-minded focus, delivering efficiency, service innovation and improved speed to market”.

“This is going to be particularly important when you consider the 5G build programmes of tomorrow will be very different to the 4G ones of the past, requiring many more, smaller sites, closer to the customer, and greater overall densification.”

Spark stated it will continue to determine how its mobile network is developed. Under the terms of the deal, TowerCo committed to building 670 sites over the next decade in addition to its current 1,236 towers and has the right to renew the deal.

The sale requires approval from the Overseas Investment Office, which is expected in the first half of fiscal 2023, the period to end-December.

Spark announced plans to explore selling a stake in the tower business in April.