The number of telecom towers in India is expected to double in the next four to five years as a result of growth in mobile data (3G expansion), coverage rollouts, expansion by new operators and new technologies, according to a report by Macquarie Group.
Macquarie’s global telecom analysts Unmesh Sharma and Nathan Ramler, in a report on the Indian Telecom Sector, said that as tower companies seek to enhance tenancy and efficiency, consolidation in the sector should continue.
“Consolidation should continue as tower companies and carriers seek to enhance tenancy and efficiency,” the report states.
Meanwhile, Tata Teleservices and SREI group are in talks with private equity players to sell stake in Viom Networks, their joint venture, the Economic Times reported today.
“Viom is India’s No. 2 telecom tower company after Indus Towers with 38,500 towers and the largest number of reported tenants per tower. The move comes in the backdrop of a dissatisfied Tata group questioning the manner in which the company has been managed and run. Tatas own nearly 54% in Viom,” according to the Times.
Both the Tatas and SREI group have had talks with two possible investors (Sumitomo Corp. of Japan and TPG Partners) over the past month, the Times reported.
Talking about the Indian telecom tower industry, a recent news revealed that American Tower Corp. is gradually expanding its operations in emerging markets such as Brazil, Mexico and India.
The company, which owns and/or operates more than 8,000 tower sites throughout India, has said that it is taking initiatives to expand its India operations. Currently, ATC has a tenancy ratio of 1.8 in India and has business relationship with major telecom operators in India.