Two Canadian public pension funds, CPP Investments and AIMCo, have committed nearly US$2 billion of capital to an Australia-based wireless and broadcast networks provider, BAI Communications, which they have co-owned since 2009.
The funds are seeking to ramp up their involvement in the rapid growth of 5G mobile networks, which are set to transform businesses, government enterprises, and societies around the world. The massive investment is intended to be part of this next wave of technological and economic development.
It comes alongside the investments state-owned investors such as GIC and CDPQ are making in data center and cloud computing which are also part of this revolutionary change in communications. Like conventional transportation infrastructure, these sectors provide long-term income generation, yet exposure to tech ensures long-term growth in scale. Global SWF estimates that from 2017 SOIs have invested more than US$6 billion in data centers and cloud computing worldwide.
The announcement comes as BAI agreed to acquire Mobilitie, the US’s largest privately held telecommunications infrastructure company. BAI has already secured a foothold in North America and claims that in New York and Toronto it “enables more than seven million daily subway commuters to shop, share, stream, earn and learn through our cellular and Wi-Fi networks.” The acquisition is a significant step towards becoming one of the region’s leading providers of 5G infrastructure.
BAI had hired Telefónica O2 UK’s Brendan O’Reilly to become its global CTO in January. He said at the time: “I’m delighted to be joining BAI in the early stages of executing its ambitious growth plans. This role offers me the opportunity to play a pivotal role in defining and implementing the technology strategy that will help BAI become a globally renowned provider of neutral host solutions to MNOs and municipalities.”