India’s digital infrastructure landscape is evolving rapidly to support advances in the telecom domain. Digital infrastructure providers are playing a critical role in this transformation. iBUS Networks and Infrastructure Private Limited, a leading neutral digital infrastructure player, is transforming and delivering connectivity solutions in India with the aim of expanding the reach of telecom services across the country and reducing the digital divide. In an interview with tele.net, Ram Sellaratnam, managing director and group chief executive officer, iBUS Networks and Infrastructure Private Limited, talks about the company’s business highlights, new projects, and future expansion plans. Excerpts….
How has India’s digital infrastructure landscape evolved? What role is iBUS playing in this journey?
The evolution of India’s digital infrastructure can be understood in two aspects. Firstly, the definition of digital infrastructure has expanded significantly over time. It initially centred around telecommunications but has now encompassed a broader ecosystem, including towers, radios, indoor solutions (such as those offered by iBUS Networks), data centres, fibre infrastructure and even satellite communications. Essentially, anything that enables digital connectivity and commerce is considered part of digital infrastructure.
Secondly, the fidelity of digital infrastructure has greatly improved. This means that the scale, functionalities and technological sophistication of this infrastructure have increased substantially. For instance, with the advent of 5G, active components have become “smart”, featuring capabilities such as self-healing, scalability and elasticity. This represents a significant advancement in the features and functionality of digital infrastructure.
iBUS Networks is actively contributing to this digital infrastructure evolution. We have expanded our offerings from neutral host passive indoor solutions to active sharing infrastructure. Our recent projects, including the deployment at the India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC), Dwarka, encompass small cell and fibre solutions. Furthermore, we are expanding our Wi-Fi solutions, aiming to bridge the gap between Wi-Fi and telecom protocols, enabling interoperability and convergence. In essence, iBUS Networks is an integral part of India’s evolving digital infrastructure landscape.
What have been the key business highlights for the company during the past year? What are the new projects that you are currently working on?
Over the past year, iBUS Networks has achieved remarkable business growth on multiple fronts. From a business operations perspective, we have experienced consistent month-on-month growth, registering a 60 per cent increase in our operations. This growth is driven by our expansion into new sites, reflecting our commitment to organic growth. Notably, our growth spans various platforms, including indoor, Wi-Fi solutions and the internet of things.
Additionally, we have taken significant corporate actions, including strategic acquisitions in the areas of distributed antenna systems, small cells and Wi-Fi. These acquisitions have strengthened our portfolio and enhanced our capabilities. Moreover, we have successfully attracted new investors, injecting fresh capital into the company, which positions us well for further growth.
As for our ongoing projects, we have expanded our global presence by entering the Southeast Asian market. This expansion aligns with our strategic objectives and represents a significant milestone for iBus Networks.
“iBUS Networks is actively contributing to the digital infrastructure evolution. We have expanded our offerings from neutral host passive indoor solutions to active sharing infrastructure.”
How is iBUS Networks leveraging opportunities in the 5G space? What new 5G-enabled solutions have you launched?
iBUS Networks is actively leveraging opportunities within the 5G landscape. As a trusted indoor solutions partner for leading telecommunications companies such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea Limited and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, we are at the forefront of creating 5G-enabled indoor sharing networks. These networks encompass both passive and active solutions, ensuring seamless connectivity and coverage in indoor environments.
Furthermore, the company has expanded its offerings to include last-mile fibre and small cell solutions, aligning with the emerging needs of 5G infrastructure. We are also venturing into the government and public sector, with notable projects at prestigious locations such as the Supreme Court of India, the Prime Minister’s Office, and IICC.
In summary, iBUS Networks is actively contributing to the deployment of 5G infrastructure and is well-positioned to capitalise on the growth opportunities in this space.
How will the company’s recent acquisition of Sheltera bolster its footprint in India? Are there other similar deals in the pipeline?
The acquisition of Sheltera has significantly enhanced our presence and capabilities in the small cell sector. This strategic move has fortified our position in the Indian market, allowing us to expand our small cell offerings and cater to the evolving needs of our customers.
Moving forward, we remain committed to the small cell sector and anticipate robust growth in this area, given the expanded capabilities following the acquisition. As part of our growth strategy, we are open to exploring further acquisition opportunities that align with our vision and objectives.
“With the advent of 5G, active components have become ‘smart’, featuring capabilities such as self healing, scalability and elasticity. This represents a significant advancement in the features and functionality of digital infrastructure.”
What are your expansion plans and strategies for the next three years?
iBUS Networks had adopted a multi-pronged approach to expansion for the next three years, which include:
- Organic growth: We recognise that India still has substantial untapped potential in terms of digital infrastructure. Therefore, we are committed to organic growth by expanding our presence across the country and diversifying into various segments. We believe that digital maturity in India is still relatively low, providing us with ample opportunities for growth.
- Global expansion: Our Wi-Fi platform and solutions are a key focus for global expansion. Over the next three years, we aim to become one of the largest Wi-Fi platform providers in the world, with a significant presence in terms of room count.
- Telecom ecosystem: In the telecom ecosystem, we anticipate growth through a combination of organic expansion and strategic acquisitions. We aim to become a substantial player, leveraging both in-house capabilities and partnerships to enhance our offerings.
In conclusion, iBUS Networks has ambitious plans for growth, both domestically and globally, with a keen eye on evolving technologies and market dynamics. We are poised to be a key player in the ever-expanding digital infrastructure landscape.
“In the telecom ecosystem, we anticipate growth through a combination of organic expansion and strategic acquisitions. We aim to become a substantial player, leveraging both in-house capabilities and partnerships to enhance our offerings.”