Orange’s tower subsidiary Totem formally launched in the group’s two largest markets of Spain and France, as the operator’s CEO Stephane Richard (pictured) set the unit the target of becoming the undisputed European leader in its sector.

Totem was announced by Orange in February and is an attempt to generate revenue from the operator’s passive infrastructure assets. The independently-operated spin-off’s portfolio covers 26,000 sites and has around 170 staff.

Alongside running assets for use by Orange’s units, Totem will target deals with other operators and third party businesses looking to provide coverage in dense and enclosed areas including underground stations and stadiums.

In a statement, Orange noted it would “consider the option” of incorporating its other European tower assets into the business at a later date.

Richard noted the move was an “important milestone in our European infrastructure strategy”, adding Orange is “determined to support Totem on both a strategic and financial level, to make it an undisputed leader on the European market and to keep control of this strategic asset as part of a long-term industrial vision.”

The move makes Orange the latest operator to seek to raise cash from its tower assets, with Vodafone Group spinning-off Vantage Towers in 2020 and subsequently publicly listing the unit.

Other operators chose to sell to third parties and sign lease back agreements.