GTL telecom tower base to rise to 50,000 by 2013

GTL telecom tower base to rise to 50,000 by 2013

New Delhi: After acquiring 17,500 towers from Aircel, telecom infrastructure company GTL is planning to take its total cell sites to 50,000 in the next three years.

“At present, we have 11,500 towers and we have acquired 17,500 towers from Aircel, which will make it 33,000 telecom towers for the combined entity by June this year. We plan to have a portfolio of 50,000 towers by fiscal 2013," GTL senior VP Vikas Arora told PTI.

The GTL stock was trading marginally down at Rs407.50 on the BSE.

The Aircel deal has already made GTL one of the country’s largest independent mobile tower companies.

He said the tenancy ratio is also expected to grow to 2.3 by 2013 while the number of towers in urban areas will increase from the current 1,350 to 9,400 to cater to new 2G and 3G players.

India has a vast network of nearly 4,00,000 mobile towers. Operators are expected to cash in on this infrastructure in the coming months, either through asset sales like Aircel or through initial public offerings.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea have set up a joint venture called Indus, which has 90,000 towers while Reliance Communications, the country’s second largest operator, has its own company with 50,000 towers.

Both the companies are expected to launch their initial public offerings.

India’s mobile infrastructure sector is growing fast on the back of soaring subscriber numbers, already at more than 500 million.

With a slew of new telecom companies launching their mobile services, operators are increasingly looking to save on costs by sourcing infrastructure, including towers.