The Telecom Towers Market is segmented by Fuel Type (Renewable and Non-renewable), Installation (Rooftop and Ground-based), Ownership (Operator-owned, JV, and Private-owned), and Region.
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Scope of the Report
Key Market Trends
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The telecom towers market is expected to register a CAGR of 4.56% over the forecast period 2020 - 2025. The leasing concept has enabled the MNOs to invest heavily in developing their infrastructure and reach across rural regions, thus bringing new revenues to the tower operators through tower installations. Tower-sharing is one of the significant growth drivers for the telecom industry, as it provides benefits like cost reduction and faster data rollout. The telecom tower industry has gained prominence as an independent industry, mainly in India and the United States.
Over the years, millions of dollars have been spent on improving broadband connectivity to rural areas. The annual data usage via wireless networks has been increasing rapidly, promoting smartphone penetration considerably. In July 2019, the Communications Minister of India announced that the telecom operators intent to install over 57,559 towers in rural areas to provide mobile connectivity. The project, such as BharatNet, has been implemented to offer broadband connectivity to all 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats in India.
Broadband adoption can help improve the economy in rural areas by increasing income, creating jobs, and lowering unemployment rates. However, technology keeps improving, enabling existing wiring to carry more and more data. Alternative techniques are being used to promote broadband in rural areas—for instance, broadband via mobile phone technology or via satellite. Though 'via satellite' is an expensive alternative, it stands as one of the dependable broadband sources for people staying in rural areas.
Also, within the emerging market such as India, with the evolving trend of the telecom industry switch towards oligopoly with the merger of Vodaphone and Idea Cellular is posing impact on the telecom tower companies with factors such as tenancy loss. It is reported that the merger resulted in over 57,000 tenancy losses for the tower industry in June 2019.
As with the global demand for faster and wide network connectivity and the telecom operators rolling out 5G and other technological upgrades added with changes concerning the network, architecture is enabling the need for the equipment upgrades that are to be deployed across various industries. For, Instance the Europen Union's 5G action is aimed to provide uninterrupted 5G coverage by 2025 at railways and other major roads.
Also, with the rise of cloud adoption across the industry and the growth potential with respect to the edge computing that is leveraging applications such as cloud gaming, autonomous vehicle networks, interactive and immersive media delivery among others that rely on low latency and requirement that the data to be closer to the consumer machine is driving the growth of the market.
For instance, American Tower Corporation has partnered with cloud edge platforms such as Microsoft' Azure Edge Zones program and currently exploring the capabilities of carrier-grade 5G, Wi-Fi, 4G, CBRS spectrums to build converged networks that aim to provide a broader array of venues as compared to the traditional DAS solutions.
However, The environmental impacts of telecom towers have always been a major concern. Radiation from mobile towers has always been an issue that is recognized as an unseen and subtle pollutant that may affect life forms in multiple ways.
Installation across a few regions has been stopped, considering the local public's fear of the environmental damage that the presence of the mobile towers may cause in the neighborhood. For instance, the residents of Clear Lake Riviera, California, have cited fire danger as their primary concern toward the installation of a telecom tower. Telecom operators, like Verizon and AT&T, are finding the need for towers in the region.
Furthermore, in April 2020, amidst the Pandemic, there were around 4 cases of both sabotage, arson against several dutch cellular broadcasting towers which were on the terms to roll out 5G, as a result of local conspiracy theorists linking the 5G mobile network to the spread of global pandemic COVID-19. Similar cases were reported globally, Netherlands, Britain, Belgium, among others despite the organization such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the World Health Organization debunking the theory. This is potentially delaying the installation of towers across the globe.
Scope of the Report
The increasing data usage by consumers has led to a competitive telecom landscape across regions. With tower sharing becoming increasingly popular among the MNOs, the tower operators have been able to reach operational efficiencies. The reports cover the emerging trends in the telecom towers market segmented by fuel type, installation, ownership across different regions studied.
Middle-East and Africa
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Key Market Trends
Operator-owned Tower is Expected to Register a Significant Growth
In the operator-owned telecom tower segment of the market studied, multiple mobile network operators (MNOs) are responsible for the construction, functioning, and maintenance of the towers. These services are being increasingly outsourced to third-party companies in the emerging economies.
Globally, the proportion of towers owned by MNOs decreased when compared to 2018. Many of these tower assets were trapped on MNO balance sheets as a function of regulatory policy. For instance, if foreign, direct ownership of towers is not permitted to exceed 50%. In other instances, the MNO may still see its towers as a source of competitive differentiation, or the market it serves or MNO itself may be seen as less investible by the tower industry.
Between towercos nearing saturation of addressable markets and investible portfolios globally, combined with the growing tendency of MNOs to carve out and keep operator-led towercos, towercos are having to look beyond their core business of building, purchasing, and leasing ‘vertical real estate’ to consider new assets and new services. Indeed, according to many towerco leaders, upwards of 50% of organic growth is now found not in macro towers and rooftops, but in lamp posts and in-building solutions.
Operators own more than two million telecom towers, while third parties have constructed the rest. Moreover, the advent of operator-owned companies that provide telecom towers, such as Bharti Infratel (India), with other MNOs as their clients, has provided further growth to the operator-owned telecom tower segment.
It has been witnessed that the business model for such tower companies relies majorly on value creation more equitably with MNOs. For instance, one of the largest operator-led tower company, China Tower Corporation (with an extensive network of about 1.7 million towers), provides higher discounts when extra tenants are added. Such advantages are expected to drive the operator-owned tower segment.
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North America is Expected to Hold Major Share
The North American region has been witnessing a significant shift, with the majority of the towers being increasingly transferred from MNOs to independent tower companies. Owing to supporting initiatives by the governments, the region is expected to strengthen its position in the global market continually. For instance, the US Department of State's Global Connect Initiative (GCI) aims to bring an additional 1.5 billion people online by 2020, thus creating a demand for more connectivity and network infrastructure.
For instance, In March 2020, American Tower, a global operator of wireless and broadcast communications infrastructure based in Massachusetts reported 9.9% increase in revenue to USD 1.993 billion during the first quarter 2020, with the US expected to generate about 57% of its property revenue and 2/3 of operating profit. The company has around 41,000 sites in the United States.
Moreover, aggregate annual wireless capital expenditure in the United States was valued at USD 30 billion, which is expected to augment its growth. In 2017, the number of mobile phone users in the United States reached to about 266 million, with mobile internet penetration of approximately 237.2 million. Mobile internet penetration is expected to cross 275 million by 2023. Increasing wireless data usage continues to compel wireless service providers to improve their networks' quality, and make incremental investments on the coverage and capacity of their systems.
Subscriber adoption of advanced wireless data applications, particularly for mobile video, advanced devices, and densification of advanced networks by wireless service providers, to satisfy the growing demand for high-bandwidth wireless data, is driving the increased deployment of towers in the region.
Also, the few prominent vendors in the region are aiming to expand their global footprint leveraging the partnerships with other local vendors to maintain their strategic position in the market. For instance, In April 2020, Phenix Tower International, considered as one of the largest private tower company the Americas announced the partnership with Bouygues Telecom to built approximately 4,000 wireless towers over the course next 12 years across France outside the denser areas as the company aims to expand its footprint in France and solidify its position in Europe, Latin America, and the Caribean.
Furthermore, Larger debts are forcing the telecoms in the region to reassess their business models and adjust the services which were a traditional part of their core operations which in turn is enabling new opportunities for the tower companies to expand their existing footprint, as per the new entrants to acquire existing infrastructure in the lucrative tower asset space. For instance, In October 2019, US telecom AT&T sold around 1,000 towers to a private equity firm for USD 688 million to cut its cost.
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The telecom tower market is highly competitive and consists of several major players. In terms of market share, few of the major players currently dominate the market. These major players with prominent shares in the market are focusing on expanding their customer base across foreign countries. These companies are leveraging strategic collaborative initiatives to increase their market share and profitability. The companies operating in the market are also acquiring start-ups working on telecom towers to strengthen their product capabilities.
September 2019: AT&T and American Tower Corporation signed a strategic long term agreement that aims to streamline wireless network deployments on the ATC' s US sites to enhance AT&T's 5G deployment and other network upgrades as FirstNet. This partnership is expected to drive mutual value and growth through a simplified leasing process to drive efficiency and flexibility improvements, which benefits the speed of deploying the latest technologies.
January 2019: Helios Tower Ltd announced that it had signed an agreement with the South African tower company, wherein the company would acquire the controlling interest in the business of the SA Towers. This agreement would help the company to accelerate its entry into South Africa.