Japan-based NTT Docomo agreed to sell 6,002 towers to JTower for JPY106.2 billion ($870 million), which the operator will then lease back, as the two companies expand their network sharing efforts.

In a statement, Docomo explained it will transfer towers where certain conditions have been met, with JTower to attract new tenants from rival operators.

The operator said the transfer is aimed at reducing the capital investment and operating expenses for tenants to speed up the rollout of 5G networks in Japan. It added the sale will promote network sharing, which reduces the environmental impact through the more effective use of existing infrastructure.

Docomo recently said it had 10,000 5G base stations across the country, with plans to double that number and take population coverage to 90 per cent by March 2024.

In November 2021, the two companies announced a capital and business alliance, with the operator acquiring part of the JTower shares held by its parent company and become a shareholder with 2.5 per cent voting rights.

Docomo’s parent NTT in July agreed to sell 71 towers to JTower for an undisclosed sum.

Last October, new Japanese operator Rakuten Mobile also formed a capital tie-up with JTower and acquired a stake in the tower company.