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Indian Telecom Industry

Telecommunication has emerged as a key driver of economic and social development in an increasingly knowledge intensive global scenario. The Indian telecommunication sector has undergone a revolutionary transition in the last two decades to become the World’s second largest telecommunication market. Today, India is one of the fastest growing telecommunication market and is recognized in the global arena for its contribution in the development of the country’s economy. Contributing nearly 6% to the Indian GDP, the sector is of immense strategic importance to the country. In the coming years, the sector will continue to play a leading role in successful implementation of various Government programmes like Digital India, Make in India and development of Smart Cities. These programs and initiatives presents plethora of opportunities for the telecom sector especially the telecom infrastructure providers as the telecommunication infrastructure is the bedrock for achieving the PM’s vision of a Digital India. As the sector transforms into the next phase of growth trajectory, there are certain ways of working which may be required to be revisited and challenged to drive the ongoing momentum.

India’s Telecom Tower Industry India’s Telecom Infrastructure Industry came into existence when the Department of Telecommunications invited applications for IP-I and IP-II registrations in the year 2000. The registration certificate of IP-I states: “Registered IP-I to establish and maintain assets such as dark fibre, Right of Way, Duct Space and Towers for the purpose to grant on lease/rent/sale basis to the Licensees of Telecom Services licensed under section 4 of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885”. IP- 1 players have played key role in expanding affordable telephony in India. Since towers enable signals to be carried wirelessly, the industry has avoided the huge cost and time in deploying underground cable and optical fibre to connect India’s cities, towns and villages. Furthermore, telecom infrastructure players by creating shared infrastructure for the telecom service providers have ensured drastic reduction of cost and time involved in roll-out, which in-turn have led to affordable services to end-users besides faster roll-out and improved accessibility to the hinterland. The salient features of Infrastructure Category are –

The key objectives of the industry body are as follow:

  • Permission through simple registration
  • 100% FDI permitted
  • No license fee

Over the years, the telecom tower industry in India has emerged as the trendsetter in the telecom infrastructure segment. Accompanied by one of the world’s lowest tariffs & low handset prices, the number of towers have quadrupled since 2006 from 1, 00,000 towers to nearly 4, 50,000 towers in 2017. Telecom towers in India have fuelled the growth of telecommunication services and provides uninterrupted quality services to more than 1 billion 01 02 subscribers. It is needless to mention that telecom towers are the point of presence for establishing telecom services. The growth is attributed to the Tower Sharing Concept initiated by the tower companies. The concept of sharing towers is a unique concept developed by Indian TowerCos and have found resonance world over. The concept has created a strong incentive for the tower industry which has led to unhindered growth of the telecom sector.