AT&T began assessing the sale of its data centres to free up cash for investment into its wireless and video business units, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

The newspaper said AT&T had appointed the Bank of America to investigate the possibility of divesting the assets, though it did not speculate on the price or identity of any potential buyers.

This is not the first time reports stated AT&T was set to dispose of its capital expenditure-intensive data centres: in 2015, the company was rumoured to be mulling a sale alongside its hosting business, though the data centre element never materialised.

In 2017 rival Verizon raised $3.6 billion from the sale of 29 data centres and associated operations to Equinix.

Sources told WSJ the AT&T unit would require some inward investment from a new owner, but would be of interest to a range of infrastructure companies – covering several industries – or private investment firms.

Should a private investment company take the assets, it would fit with a trend being seen across the world with operators selling physical assets in favour of focused investments into their core propositions. Many are also leasing back the infrastructure after sale.