The Top 20 Tower Industry Executives of 2020

TowerXchange interviews CEOs of the world's largest and most innovative towercos on their visions for their companies and the industry as a whole

Read this article to learn:

  • How industry leaders see the role of the towerco evolving
  • Progress made on exploring new service lines
  • The impacts of Covid-19 on their business
  • Organic and inorganic growth expectations
  • Operational priorities and success stories
  • Insights into specific deals and recent company announcements

In late 2020, TowerXchange was honoured to have the opportunity to speak to 20 of the biggest names in the global tower industry, reflecting on some of their biggest success stories and recent developments hitting the news headlines, whilst also exploring their strategic visions for their companies and the tower industry as a whole.

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Tom Bartlett, President & CEO, American Tower
“At the highest level, our goal is to extend our neutral host platform to encapsulate wireless connectivity, digital transport, storage and delivery and compute functions in a customer and revenue synergistic way, to offer tenants an integrated end-to-end suite of complementary solutions as the demands around network connectivity continue to evolve”
 

Tobias Martinez, CEO, Cellnex Telecom
“The company will double its EBITDA in two years even if we were to stop M&A activity entirely and focus solely on our work orders and organic growth, delivering new BTS, decommissioning, technology upgrades, new metropolitan and central offices, fibre connectivity. This is why people buy shares, they know that we have this growth with the premium of any M&A activity on top of this”
 

Juraj Šedivý, CEO, CETIN Group
“We are convinced, that a full suite of fixed and mobile infrastructure services: passive infrastructure, active radio access network, metallic and fibre access networks, and transport network services in addition to maintenance and monitoring across all layers, if properly managed, can produce value greater than the sum of the parts, and at the same time provides a natural hedge between passive towerco services and active RAN sharing”
 

Jay Brown, CEO, Crown Castle
“During my tenure, it has been fascinating to see our expansion to a full communications infrastructure offering – towers, fibre and small cells. We will continue to lay the groundwork for a network of communications infrastructure that drives connectivity and innovation”
 

Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CEO, Deutsche Funkturm
“Deutsche Funkturm has grown significantly, and this growth has not been through M&A but has been growth in the truest sense of the word, rolling out new sites to improve coverage for the German population. We are a well-oiled machine and are able to execute upon build-to-suit rapidly and efficiently. Not only does this bring tangible growth to the company but it also delivers tangible value to Germany.”
 

Marc Ganzi, CEO, Digital Colony & Colony Capital
“When talking to customers, you can’t just walk in and say “I’m going to build a tower for you”, a thousand other companies can do that, they will take down your number and tell you they will call you. If you go in and say you’re going to work out how to build their cloud radio access network, that’s a different story and that is now the central focus of what we’re doing with our customers”
 

Mohamed Adlan Ahmad Tajudin, CEO, edotco
“In terms of our vision, we aim to be among the world’s top five towercos over the next three to five years. This is a bold ambition which requires us to take a leap from around 24,000 sites we are at today, to at least 70,000 by 2025. Our strategy is to blend organic growth, through BTS and co-locations, with carving out towers from MNOs in existing markets as well as opening up new markets”
 

Kash Pandya, CEO, Helios Towers
“Within this century, Africa is going to become one of the most exciting places to establish a long-lasting business and I am immensely excited about the opportunities for a tower business such as Helios to continue to expand and provide fantastic services for our customers. We have set strategic growth targets for 2025, namely to have an operational presence in 8 or more markets and operate over 12,000 towers”
 

Sam Darwish, Chairman and Group CEO, IHS Towers
“Our infrastructure provides connectivity to countries with 582.6 million population. We started this business with one tower and today it has nearly 28,000 towers generating over $1.2bn of revenue last year. And we’re just getting started”
 

Majid Al-Kharoosi, Managing Director, Oman Towers
“Establishing a firm from scratch is a challenge, particularly in a market which sees the passive infrastructure predominantly owned by the country’s operators. Oman Towers’ success could have not seen the light without the assistance of the Telecom Regulatory Authority and the right approach taken with the mobile network operators”
 

Wole Abu, CEO, Pan African Towers
“At the present time in Africa there is not much differentiation between towercos. What Pan African Towers do differently is our use of technology and AI to make sure that we are managing costs as effectively as possible. At other towercos you see excellent performance too, but historic contracts dictate terms. These contracts are extremely inflexible and very frustrating for MNOs. Pan African Towers combines a focus on cost reduction with flexibility, we see things from the MNO side. We are charging 20% less than our competitors and still growing profitably”
 

Dagan Kasavana, CEO, Phoenix Tower International
“We feel like this flexibility and expertise is a differentiating factor as we have been essentially competing as an alternative to much larger infrastructure companies since inception and we have won new business based on following this strategy across all markets”

Pak Aming, President Director & CEO, Protelindo
“Our strong financial position has enabled us to have the capacity to invest in a high capex business like fibre while still investing and acquiring assets in the tower business. Plus, we have a very knowledgeable management team with many years of experience in the sector. This has also been a critical success factor”
 

Alexander Chub, Group President, Russian Towers
“Today we see a significant potential for the development of both in-building solutions and the solutions providing complex integrated telecom infrastructure for seamless coverage of outdoor areas in an urban environment. We are now working in this field extensively… Today Russian Towers is an infrastructure operator building more than 1,000 new objects a year and offering new innovative solutions to its customers”
 

Jeffrey A. Stoops, President, Director & CEO, SBA Communications
“If you look over the entire time period that SBA has been a public company, we have had dramatically the best returns of any public towerco in the world, in terms of our compound annual returns and the margins that we produce. We might not be biggest towerco, but we are the best at what we do”
 

Dhananjay Joshi, CEO, Summit Digitel
“While the MNO landscape is stabilising, as a consequence of the consolidation, towercos are dealing with a dip in their revenue. Churn as a function of consolidation was inevitable and innovation is one way to counteract. Towercos must look for alternative revenue streams and explore new business models to avoid relying only on MNOs. This is easier said than done, and TAIPA and TRAI need to work together to define what adjacent opportunities make sense for towercos”
 

Mohammad Alhakbani, CEO, TAWAL
“Our vision clearly articulates TAWAL’s ambitions – we want to “become the leading regional ICT infrastructure services provider”. Our strategic ambition is two-fold; (1) to grow and lead regionally in the core towerco business; (2) to expand our product portfolio to become a one-stop shop for ICT clients’ infrastructure needs.”
 

Mario Martin, CEO, Telxius
“In the tower business, after the closing of the German transaction, we will operate more than 33,000 sites in six countries combining inorganic growth with a remarkable organic growth through colocation and new site construction across all our footprint. This organic growth has been especially material in the evolution of Telxius’ tenants which has grown more than 60% since 2016 along with the steady increase in our BTS requests for our customers”
 

Vivek Badrinath, CEO, Vantage Towers
“We are at the start of a period where there will be strong momentum on both densification and coverage and that is what was so enticing about Vantage Towers launching now. The sharing model is healthy and well accepted, it is good for the industry and it is an adventure that we need to be involved in. We want to deploy capital into this space as it’s a space that’s conducive for investment and that has strong demand and growth prospects”
 

Chuck Green, Strategic Advisor and Board Director [and CEO, IDIA]
“Working with TowerXchange, SCF and IFC, I’m committed to continuing to represent the interests of the towerco industry globally, sharing regulatory best practice to support rapid and cost-effective deployment of robust communications infrastructure.”
 

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