April 7, 2016 — American Tower is doubling down on India, according to Reuters. The towerco is planning a $2 billion investment in the country on top of its $879 million investment in Viom Networks last October. The news came after American Tower CEO James Taiclet met with Indian Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. No details were provided on the nature of the investment, but the message is clear. American Tower is putting its money where the growth is.
Taiclet said in the company’s fourth quarter 2015 earnings call, “In India, our sales and operational teams generated the strongest tenant leasing growth we’ve seen in that market in a number of years.”
American Tower has a 51-percent ownership stake in Viom, which is India’s largest independent towerco, owning and managing 42,000 towers with a ratio of 2.4 tenants per tower. The company has 15 offices and 1,400 employees. American Tower has had an office in New Delhi since 2007.
“In India, the largest free market democracy in Asia, we have signed a transformational deal with Tata and its current partners in Viom, which will take our tower count there from 15,000 to over 57,000,” Taiclet said. “This transaction is strategic for ATC, not simply because it increases our tower count, but because it enables us to build even deeper business relationships with high quality, multinational mobile network operators, such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Tata, Reliance and Aircel, which will all be bringing the mobile Internet to India’s 1.2 billion people.”
American Tower has also been active in Africa recently. In March of this year, the towerco purchased 1,350 cell towers from wireless carrier Airtel Tanzania in Tanzania. Under the agreement, American Tower may acquire up to approximately 100 additional sites currently in development. Airtel will be the anchor tenant on the portfolio under a lease with a ten-year initial term. Financial details of the deal were not released.
American Tower now has more than 100,000 towers globally spread out across multiple countries, including Mexico, South America, South Africa, Uganda and Germany, as well as India.