Cellnex, which has become Europe’s largest tower owner through a series of acquisitions, will replace the CEO who drove its recent growth.

“The current economic and financial context demands that we open a new chapter in Cellnex’ story,” said CEO Tobias Martinez, in a press release. It is now time for Cellnex “to be led by a person with a time horizon that extends beyond December 2024, at which time my contract ends,” he added. Martinez is currently expected to leave Cellnex in June. The board did not share details about who might replace him.

As of November 2022, Cellnex owed approximately $18.42 billion (€17 billion). At the time, the business stated that its priority will be to improve its credit rating rather than increase its tower assets.

Cellnex owns a portfolio of 138,000 towers spread over 12 countries. Cellex has been unable to enter Germany; the business attempted to acquire control of Deutsche Telekom’s towers last year, but those assets were sold to Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and DigitalBridge.

Cellnex also owns a fibre network in addition to its tower portfolio. It will use both of these assets in a new cooperation with Vapor IO, a Texas business trying to install a grid of neutral host edge compute nodes using fibre and cell tower locations.

According to a press statement, Vapor IO and Cellnex’s first deployment will be in Barcelona, with plans to spread to other European cities. They hope to provide carriers, cloud service providers, and enterprise customers with a more effective approach to handling and analyzing data closer to the source. This is especially crucial for businesses that operate in numerous European nations and must adhere to data sovereignty legislation.

Real-time computer vision for public safety, smart retail, industrial robotics, driverless vehicles, medical imaging, and online gaming were identified as target use cases for Vapor IO’s edge compute nodes by the companies.

“It is expected that in the coming years there will be an explosion in applications and services that require computing in places physically closer to the end user, which implies an increase in the demand for this type of infrastructure,” said Eduardo Fichmann, global director of innovation and product strategy at Cellnex, in a statement.

According to the firms, Vapor IO’s hardware and software will be installed at small edge data centers offered by Cellnex at tower sites. Edge data centers are designed to accommodate workloads delivered by various tenants, hence extending the tower-neutral host paradigm.

“Vapor IO’s Kinetic Grid is both cloud-neutral and carrier-neutral, meaning it is one of the few locations at the edge where both carriers and clouds can meet on equal terms,” stated the company’s CEO and founder Cole Crawford.

The data centres will be linked by fibre owned by Cellnex or its mobile operator partners, according to the firms. They also intend to connect the Barcelona data centres to Vapor IO’s infrastructure in the United States, beginning with Chicago and Dallas. Vapor IO recently showed off its network connectivity.