Telecom infrastructure firm ATC will continue to look at acquisition opportunities in the Indian market after completing the integration of 20,000 mobile towers of Vodafone and Idea with its business, a top company official said.
"For next six months, our hands are full till the time integration takes time. Second, having done this deal my focus is going to be more. But, there is no hard and fast decision because there are some portfolios which are up for sale at a very attractive price. We would look at it," American Towers EVP and president for Asia Amit Sharma said.
American Tower Company (ATC) has signed an agreement with Vodafone and Idea Cellular to acquire their mobile tower assets for about Rs 7,850 crore.
With this acquisition, ATC will become second largest standalone mobile tower company in the country with a portfolio of 80,000 towers.
In April 2016, ATC completed the acquisition of 51 percent controlling stake in Viom Networks which has a portfolio of over 42,000 towers.
Indus Tower leads Indian mobile tower market with 1,23,073 towers. Bharti Infratel owns 39,264 towers on a standalone basis. State-run BSNL has around 66,000 mobile towers at present.
Sharma, who is also chairman of the Board for ATC Telecom Infrastructure Private Limited, said that the company will first look at the size of mobile tower of the company that it will acquire along with tenancy it has on its towers.
He said that besides large three telecom operators, BSNL and Aircel will continue to operate.
"Aircel may get smaller but they are not going to go away. Three large players and two smaller ones (BSNL and Aircel) that is not a bad market from a tower company perspective. There will be either one very large tower company with us as second or there will be three tower companies that make for a very stable structure," Sharma said.
He said that there will be good growth opportunity once Indian telecom market settles after consolidation and ATC will continue to operate in India.
"We are not financial investors who come in business for some period of time and then look to exit. This is our core business. Our plan is very straightforward. We think in a year or two when consolidation is over mobile market will start to grow," Sharma said.
He said that the need for data will require more sites.
"At that time you will start to grow rapidly. We will be one of the major players in the market to provide those sites. We are not going anywhere," Sharma said.
According to mobile tower industry body TAIPA, telecom operators are expected to invest $20 billion (around 1.3 lakh crore) in the next two year and half of it will be made on telecom infrastructure.