Summit Digitel's vision for India
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Summit Digitel's vision for India


TowerXchange interview with Devesh Garg, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Summit DigiTel

Summit Digitel is is one of India’s largest telecom infrastructure providers and is committed to enabling India’s journey as a digital nation by ensuring seamless connectivity. Amidst pandemic challenges, Summit Digitel's dedication to innovation remained steadfast. As part of a Data Infrastructure Trust, Summit Digitel now boasts a network of over 174,000 telecom sites. The trust recently welcomed Roam Digitel, further diversifying its portfolio. Dedicated to tower acquisition and construction, Roam Digitel is a forward-looking company within the Data Infrastructure Trust. Devesh Garg, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Summit Digitel and Director of Roam Digitel, shared transformative insights with TowerXchange.

TowerXchange: Please could you introduce yourself to TowerXchange readers? What is your background and the scope of your role at Summit Digitel? What have been your priorities over the last year?

Devesh Garg, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Summit DigiTel, Director, Roam DigiTel:

With nearly three decades of professional experience, the diverse industries I've worked in have equipped me in making informed decisions and can be credited for my comprehension of the acumen essential for sound decision-making.

Having begun my career in the automotive industry, I transitioned into information technology, the energy sector, and finally the telecommunications industry. As a telecommunication professional with over 12 years of experience, the industry has been the best teacher, helping me gain a thorough understanding and delving into its most intricate details.

The primary focus of my career to date has been on establishing and nurturing commercial and business activities to grow the organizations I work for. In my current role as the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Summit Digitel, I am responsible for overseeing all aspects of business development, sales, and marketing initiatives for the brand. Furthermore, I serve as the Director for Roam Digitel, a recently integrated entity within Data Infrastructure Trust.

The journey overall has not only broadened my expertise but also instilled in me a deep appreciation for the intricacies of these industries.

TowerXchange: With over 174,000 sites in India, Summit Digitel isn’t just one of the leaders in the market, but the third largest tower company globally. What are the secrets behind the company’s success, what have been the main growth drivers for the company so far?

Devesh Garg, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Summit DigiTel, Director, Roam DigiTel:

The remarkable success of Summit Digitel and its position as the third-largest tower company in the world can be credited to a variety of key factors.

First and foremost, our extensive network of over 174,000 strategically located sites in India has made us one of the leading players in this market. In the highly competitive Indian telecommunications market, this extensive coverage allows us to provide our partners with prime locations for capacity and coverage enhancements.

A second strength lies in our unwavering commitment to long-term stability and industry-leading lease agreements. Unlike traditional telecommunications leases, our 30-year agreements for towers, with Reliance Jio as our anchor tenant, stand as unprecedented milestones in the industry. This extended lease duration ensures financial stability and sets an industry standard.

Third, our towers are designed to support the most advanced technologies, including 5G, making them exceptionally well suited to meet the ever-evolving needs of telecommunications.

Our network covers 65% of rural areas, a key factor contributing to our success. This broad reach gives us a clear advantage by enhancing capacity and coverage compared to competitors. In summary, Summit Digitel's success is the result of a combination of strategic vision, long-term commitment, technological prowess, and a strong financial foundation, all of which have allowed us to emerge as a global leader in the tower industry.

TowerXchange: What new products and services are you seeking to develop, or new clients, geographies or market segments are you looking into growing or getting into? Tell us more about Roam Digitel.

Devesh Garg, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Summit DigiTel, Director, Roam DigiTel:

We are committed to supporting Indian mobile networks in line with the government's commitment to technological advancement. In 2022, Indian mobile users consumed an average of 20 GB of data per month, and projections indicate that the number will increase to 47 GB by 2027. Summit Digitel recognizes that India offers a considerable opportunity for growth; however, we remain committed to our core business.

With Roam Digitel, our newly established venture, our focus is on acquiring and building new towers to provide operators with tailored solutions. Approximately 700,000 towers exist in India today, yet an additional half a million are required for comprehensive national coverage. In this pivotal undertaking, Roam Digitel is expected to seize this opportunity, playing a crucial role in the development of India’s tower infrastructure. This endeavour reinforces our dedication to meeting the evolving requirements of our partners and contributing to the rapidly expanding Indian telecommunications sector. We strive to provide reliable, innovative, and affordable services, aiming to bridge the digital divide in India and achieve our goals by expanding our network, a crucial element for our success.

TowerXchange: How is Summit Digitel seeking to improve its operational efficiencies and what is your approach to ensuring that sustainability and minimizing environmental impact stays high on the agenda?

Devesh Garg, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Summit DigiTel, Director, Roam DigiTel:

There are three tiers of power supply availability in our robust management process. Grid power has made substantial strides in recent years, especially in tier one and tier two cities, where there has been notable improvement in electricity availability, suggesting more consistent service and reducing the need for battery backup to just three hours.

A diesel generator only comes into play when battery levels fall, ensuring uninterrupted power supply. Impressively, our towers maintain the industry's leading uptime in areas beyond these cities.

Approximately, a notable portion of our sites operate without diesel generators, relying solely on grid power and cutting-edge lithium-ion batteries renowned for their fast-charging and slow-discharging properties. As environmental consciousness in being focused on India, we are working with our partners to progressively reduce diesel generators and increase footprint of solar sights. This strategic expansion of our tower network not only curtails energy costs but also makes a substantial contribution to environmental preservation, showcasing our unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

TowerXchange: How do you see the Indian, and more broadly Asian, telecom services and telecom infrastructure markets develop in the near and far future? Where do the opportunities lie and are there any threats and risks that towercos need to be mindful of?

Devesh Garg, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Summit DigiTel, Director, Roam DigiTel:

Among the Asian markets, India holds great promise in terms of telecom services and infrastructure. There is a surging demand for high-quality connectivity in these regions due to rising incomes and population growth. India, in particular, is on a trajectory to provide consistent service quality nationwide over the next 5-7 years. With the potential for a faster 5G rollout compared to the previous 2G, and the anticipation of 6G technology, there are significant growth opportunities. However, it's crucial to remain cognizant of potential risks and continue to invest in fortifying India's telecom backbone to ensure a resilient and evolving network infrastructure.

Devesh Garg will be speaking at the 10th annual TowerXchange Meetup Asia 2023 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 28th – 29th 2023

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