Tarantula attended the TowerXchange Meetup Europe 2019, held in London in the month of April, and we as a team had a chance to learn more about the latest trends in the world of telecom towers.
Carve-outs: Flavour of the year
Large telcos such as Telenor and Telia are in the process of creating separate towerco entities which will play a major role in terms of shaping the tower landscape across the region. These towerco entities are expected to focus on the efficient rollout (increased speed to market), maximising colocations (or tenancies) and building partnerships. We see this as a very positive development for the tower industry as this will favourably impact EBITDA and valuation (multiples) across the European tower sector. With 60% of Europe’s 600,000 towers still MNO-captive, carve-outs will be instrumental in unlocking tremendous value and bridging the ‘valuation multiple’ gap between Europe and US.
Towers++ paving the way for 5G
Instead of macro towers and rooftops, the buzzwords were smart poles, multi-tenant DAS (Distributed Antenna System), microcells and small cells. These new structures are being deployed in significantly higher volumes to lay the foundation for the 5G ecosystem which will enable not only interconnection of multiple gadgets and machines (machine-to-machine) but also constant streaming of high quality and high bandwidth data (rich content, machine learning/interaction). Tarantula spoke to several tower operators during the event, and it is clear that all players are focusing more on deploying these new structures.
Certain tower operators are diversifying further by catering for 5G backhaul, testing multi operator small cells and exploring IoT network services.
Digitization and Automation
A number of tower operators highlighted the importance of having the “right systems and platforms in place” to perform the “right level of asset management” for revenue assurance. A few tower operators are also open to transforming their entire IT landscape in order to ensure the right level of standardisation, automation, efficiency and tracking that will be required to manage a growing portfolio with multiple types of structures and related processes, assets, leases and contracts.
Tarantula was a Silver Sponsor at the TowerXchange Meetup Europe 2019 event.