labels: industry - general, telecom
GIL to set up 6700 cell sites across India news
25 August 2006

In a major expansion drive aimed at consolidating its business of providing cellular operators shared infrastructure, shared telecom infrastructure services provider GTL Infrastructure Limited (GIL) proposes to build, own, and operate shared passive telecom infrastructure for approx cell sites at an investment of over Rs2,030 crore.

GTL Infrastructure Limited (GIL) established by GTL Limited as an infrastructure company to provide shared infrastructure assets and services in the telecom sector, passive telecom infrastructure includes the tower, shelter, air-conditioning equipment, diesel generator, battery, etc. for cellular operators.

The fresh roll out in passive telecom infrastructure includes setting up of new greenfield sites will be based on cellular operator requirements who will be its anchor user. These sites will, however be capable of accommodating other operators for co-location and will be marketed by GIL to prospective telecom operators on a sharing basis. The sites would either be ground-based sites (GBS) or rooftop sites (RTS).

As part of its acquisition plans, GIL would acquire existing sites from various operators and refurbish them to suit sharing and co-location requirements.

Passive telecommunication infrastructure constitutes around 65 per cent of the total capital cost with active component making up the remaining 35 per cent. However, given the recent rise in property, steel and cement prices, the capital cost of passive infrastructure is going up while that of the active infrastructure is coming down with declining prices of electronic components.

While overall telecom infrastructure requires huge investment outlays, such investments often turn out to be risky propositions given the rapid introduction of successive generations of new technology. Operators are occasionally faced with a situation where even before recovering their investments in existing infrastructure they have to embark on further investments in new generation networks.

Shared Infrastructure will bring down the passive infrastructure cost of telecom operators by at least 35 per cent to 40 per cent, the company feels.

According to Prakash Ranjalkar, chief operating officer, GIL, "The objectives of infrastructure sharing is to maximise the use of existing infrastructure and provide cost effective infrastructure for coverage requirements and in low ARPU areas. GIL's business model focuses on creating value through shared infrastructure for both the operators and the company. Indian telecom sector is witnessing a huge growth and GIL would like to act as catalyst to fuel this growth by bringing down the capital expenditure and operational costs for telecom companies and fuel growth"

India has the eighth largest telecom network in the world, growing at a rate of over 20 per cent per annum. The New Telecom Policy of 1999 facilitated major transformation in the telecommunication sector. The Indian mobile market is now one of the fastest growing markets in the world, adding around four million new subscribers every month.

The market has grown from less than 10 million in 2002 to 92 million subscribers in 2006 and is expected to reach 205 million by the end of FY08. The wireless operators are planning to spend $20 billion over a period of next three years expanding their networks. It is estimated that the number of towers would grow to 180,000 in FY08 from the 82,000 at present.

Top 10 shareowners of GTL as on December 31, 2005 (other than promoters)

Name(s) of shareowners

Category (as per depository)

Shares

%

Citigroup Global Markets Mauritius Private Limited

Foreign Institutional Investor (FII)

6,621,929

8.17%

Passport India Investments (Mauritius) Ltd.

Foreign Institutional Investor (FII)

3,826,565

4.72%

Deutsche Securities Mauritius Limited

Foreign Institutional Investor (FII)

2,945,000

3.63%

Investec Bank (Switzerland) AG

Foreign Bank

2,737,145

3.38%

UBS Securities Asia Limited. A/c Swiss Finance Corporation (Mauritius) Limited

Foreign Institutional Investor (FII)

2,419,128

2.98%

Copthall Mauritius Investment Ltd.

Foreign Institutional Investor (FII)

1,320,284

1.63%

Life Insurance Corporation Of India

Financial Institution (FI)

1,007,259

1.24%

Swiss Finance Corporation (Mauritius) Limited -FCCB

Foreign Institutional Investor (FII)

712,432

0.88%

Hansa Tirodkar

Resident India - A

598,314

0.74%

Bank America International Investment Corporation

Foreign Institutional Investor (FII)

576,666

0.71%


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GIL to set up 6700 cell sites across India