American Tower Corporation (ATC), one of the leading infrastructure providers engaged in the telecom space is set to build around 3500 new tower sites in India by the end of 2020. The development was shared by Rod Smith, executive vice president of ATC in the third quarter earnings call on Thursday. In its third quarter of the current fiscal year, ATC registered a 3% increase in its total revenues to US$2,013 million. However, the company said that its net income decreased 8.4% to US$463 million for its third quarter ended September 30, 2020.
ATC Built Close to 1,000 Sites in India in Third Quarter
Tom Bartlett, president and CEO of ATC, said in the earnings call that the Indian telecom market is “very strong” and that the operators are now looking beyond the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) case.
“I think there has been a general slowdown overall, not just regards to COVID, but I think also with regard to clearing through a lot of the AGR, a lot of tax issues, I think that put a slowdown,” Bartlett said in the earnings call on Thursday. “But hopefully, much of that will be behind us and the carriers I know are really starting to think about and move forward in terms of looking to increase kind of rates of growth going forward.”
Further, Smith said that the ATC “built just shy of a thousand towers in India in the quarter” ended September 30, 2020 and that the company witnessed close to 14% in returns.
“We've seen continued growth in the India marketplace from a couple of the large carriers there,” Bartlett said in the earnings call. “We're getting double-digit rates of return right out of the gate.”
ATC is said to own and operate 74,569 tower sites in India as of September 30, 2020, with the country accounting for 15.4% of the total property revenue during its third quarter. Airtel, Vodafone Idea (Vi) and Reliance Jio are said to be major telecom operators to be engaged with ATC in India.
ATC Sees AGR Decision As Positive for Telecom Operators
With the Supreme Court providing a 10-year time period for the telecom operators to repay their AGR dues, Smith said that the company sees the decision on a “positive” note.
“We view this as a positive as it provides incremental clarity in the marketplace in near-term breathing room for the carriers in terms of their liquidity,” Smith said in the earnings call.
Meanwhile, Bartlett also highlighted that the company is targeting to reduce its “scope on fossil fuel consumption in diesel related greenhouse gas emissions” in India by more than 60% by 2027.
“We have made significant progress towards that objective having reduced annual diesel consumption by 65 million liters since 2017, after normalizing for site count growth,” Bartlett said in the earnings call on Thursday.