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The history of the tower industry, and a comparison of towerco business models


A whistle stop tour through tower industry history, and a matrix of the business models of 42 of the world’s largest towercos

A developed market towerco which owns and operates just ‘steel and grass’ is a fundamentally different entity from an emerging market towerco that might manage towers, real estate and power. Towercos also grow in different ways; some focus on organic growth, others on inorganic growth; buying and leasing back towers from MNOs, or rolling up existing towercos. Then you have different assets on towerco balance sheets; some focus purely on macro telecom towers, others also make a significant proportion of their revenue from broadcast clients, while some are diversifying beyond macro towers into microcells, small cells, DAS and fibre.


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