TowerCos in India: Strengthening the core
Towercos in India can play a significant role in the deployment of fiber. The revenue opportunity for Towercos is between INR180b–INR270b by 2025. Another lucrative opportunity for Towercos will be in deploying small cells, catering to the growing network densification requirements.
Exploring adjacencies to help transition to a Digital InfraCo
Towercos are well positioned to expand their infrastructure portfolio, tapping into adjacencies to cater to the changing needs of end customers. Inherent strengths of towercos make them strategically placed to capitalize on new revenue streams — pan-country presence, huge fleet on the ground, real estate connects, streamlined processes, power management capabilities and a decentralized asset base. This presents significant opportunities for towercos to foray into adjacent service offerings by utilizing their existing infrastructure/assets.
Tower sites are ideal to serve as micro data centers owing to steady power supply and fiberized backhaul. Towercos in India can capitalize on this growing opportunity. India’s ambitious Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption target by 2030 will necessitate setting up a robust charging infrastructure. Tower sites can double-up as EV charging points, maximizing asset utilization. In addition, towercos have acquired significant expertise in site acquisition and negotiation with owners. As a result, they can help set-up dark stores for e-commerce companies.
Pivoting customer base
The advent of 5G in India is expected to bring new players in the industry. Towercos have the chance to cater to these new customers by offering a range of infrastructure services. In addition, increased need for satellite ground stations, driven by proliferation of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, will position towercos to cater to entire communications infrastructure needs for these stations.
A conducive regulatory environment is needed to maximize potential of Digital InfraCos
Addressing some of the regulatory bottlenecks faced by towercos/Infrastructure Providers-I (IP-I) will go a long way in helping them transform into a “Digital InfraCo”. For instance, the shared infrastructure business model reduces operating costs by avoiding duplication of infrastructure by multiple service providers. However, the current regulatory environment does not allow towercos to take the shared infrastructure provider business path. In addition, adoption of new technologies and data-heavy applications will require further densification of telecom infrastructure/ network throughout the country. Currently, there are no provisions in place for facilitating deployment of in-building solution (IBS), small cells, cell-on-wheel, aerial cable, street furniture, etc. RoW policies need to be suitably amended or updated to reflect the changing market dynamics. Further, property tax should be rationalized across all States to ease working capital woes of IP-1s.