On July 2, Marco Patuano, CEO of Cellnex Telecom, participated in a colloquium at the Círculo Ecuestre under the title An industrial and competitive model for infrastructure and the digital agenda in Europe.

After the presentation by the president of the Círculo Ecuestre, Enrique Lacalle, the director of the largest European operator of telecommunications towers and infrastructure held a dialogue with Esther Vera, director of the ARA newspaper.


The conversation began with an assessment of the telecommunications sector in Europe by the speaker. He stated that "In Europe we are behind other regions of the world in telecommunications because the European Community has favored price competition over investments". Regarding this, he expressed that “competition and infrastructure are two words that should not be combined”.

Asked about 5G, the CEO of Cellnex Telecom argued that currently “in engineering terms, it is an improved 4G or a still incomplete 5G”. To demonstrate his opinion, he gave the example of Japan or Korea, which have a greater number of antennas due to “the amount of data they use and the need to find it in all places”. “In Europe we continue to have very important data growth. The US has good data growth, similar to Europe, only the US is more advanced than us, with fewer operators and higher billing per customer”, he noted.

Within the framework of the dialogue, the manager gave as an example the implementation of 5G antennas in the beach area, and in the kiosks on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, in order to provide greater capacity to the network. Likewise, he expressed that "although the antennas are small and cannot be seen, it has a cost". Although, in the eyes of the speaker, Barcelona is experiencing growth in these infrastructures, "Spain only has a total of 120,000 antennas, compared to other countries like Japan, which have one million", he said. Given this, he stated before the public that "not having a good digital infrastructure is a loss of competitiveness at the national level".

Regarding Artificial Intelligence, one of the topics that cause the greatest interest in today's society, Patuano told the Ecuestre audience that its incursion into society “will cause greater investment in infrastructure”: “Imagine that we have a flow of water. If we multiply this flow by five or eight, can we pass it through the same tube we have now? No. Therefore, that tube must be changed", he explained. In that sense, he has regretted the “bad decisions between investments and competition of the European Community", as well as the role it plays right now, he argued. "In the United States, Microsoft and Google will jointly invest 110 billion dollars in AI. China is the one that will manufacture the products. In Europe we are regulating a technology that is not yet fully implemented. It is a complicated role", said the CEO of Cellnex Telecom. Patuano added a “second layer to AI: quantum computing”, since “this will allow systems to work non-deterministically, as is happening now”. Despite this, he stressed that these future scenarios "will not be seen in less than 30 or 40 years".

The second half of the interview covered the sustainability purpose led by Cellnex Telecom. Given this, Patuano explained that "by the end of 2024, Cellnex's infrastructure will consume 1.8 TWh of energy", which is "equivalent to two Barcelonas". The manager expressed that, "at the end of 2025 we will be using green energy". To this end, he highlighted “self-generation at the local level” as one of the sources of production.

Finally, Patuano gave a brief summary of the results of the company he leads: “the planned divestitures of Cellnex are going well and, regarding the results for 2024, we are a little better than we imagined”. He attributed this last fact to the fact that “two countries, one of them France, are doing a spectacular job”.