Vodafone New Zealand became the latest in a long line of operators to announce plans to sell off passive mobile tower assets in order to release capital to support its future growth ambitions.

The operator appointed UBS and Barrenjoey as its advisers for the towers sale.

Vodafone NZ owns close to 1,500 towers covering about 98 per cent of the population. Bloomberg reported the portfolio could potentially be valued at up to NZD1.5 billion ($1 billion).

Citing a presentation sent to potential investors, the news agency reported the towers on sale have an average lease term of about 13 years, while 290 more sites will be added by the year ending March 2027.

Bloomberg also stated the mobile towers are expected to generate EBITDA of more than NZD50 million in the fiscal year starting 1 April 2022.

Vodafone NZ in 2021 detailed plans to upgrade or build more than 250 cell sites around the country, and bring 5G to more cities.

The operator is now owned by investors Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management after Vodafone Group exited the New Zealand market in 2019.

At an investor day last month, Infratil signalled Vodafone NZ was at an “advanced stage of preparation” for the potential separation and capital release of the passive tower assets.

The investor said it believed a “focused independent tower entity can best meet future demand and service needs”.

Rival Spark New Zealand also recently unveiled plans to establish an infrastructure subsidiary to generate revenue from its tower assets and explore bringing in capital from third parties.