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Evolve and Expand: Exploring the integral role of TowerCos in today’s Telco landscape 

Jacques Bacry
Dec 20, 2023

For decades, TowerCos have played a critical, yet passive, role within the Telecommunications ecosystem. However, in today’s dynamic digital landscape, TowerCos find themselves at a pivotal juncture: will they maintain their limited position as infrastructure owners and managers, or will they undergo a transformation to better serve the expanding needs of operators and seize new revenue opportunities? 

To play a more active role in the Telco landscape, TowerCos need to embrace digitalization. These organizations must develop a comprehensive strategy that not only addresses the immediate challenges of today but also lays the foundation for a resilient and adaptive future. This requires a nuanced approach, incorporating advanced and emerging digital technologies across the enterprise to enhance the efficiency of core operations, as well as developing the capabilities that position their organization to seize emerging opportunities and navigate challenges. 

In doing so, TowerCos can bridge the gap between their traditional passive participation and a more active role, enabling them to play a more integral part in the telecommunications ecosystem.

Establishing a modern inventory system with advanced digital capabilities 

Digitalization represents a valuable revenue opportunity for TowerCos. However, to unlock the competitive power of their existing assets, companies must have a clear and complete understanding of both their current inventory and the needs of their customers—two areas that have become ever more challenging given the growth and evolution of the Telco market. 

For example, in the case of antenna parks, TowerCos often struggle to anticipate operator needs or respond quickly to requests. The solution to both challenges can be found in leveraging digital technologies, such as digital twins, drones and AI, to establish a modern inventory system. Taken together, these technologies can address the main challenge of developing effective methodologies for digitizing antennas.  

A modern inventory system helps TowerCos establish a consistent view of assets and identify inconsistencies within the existing inventory system. In so doing, the TowerCo can quickly and accurately simulate any number of scenarios, such as the installation of new antennas, and generate a commercial proposal to their clients.  

Through the combination of digital capabilities, advanced technologies, and synchronized digital twins, TowerCos can also begin to explore innovative avenues for business growth and client engagement. For example, a more advanced level of digital maturity can rapidly assess the feasibility of integrating new antenna and provide detailed 3D renderings to the client. This significantly accelerates time to market, creating more revenue for both the TowerCo and the operator.  

Addressing asset management challenges through digital tech 

Another challenge facing TowerCos is asset management. As the speed of equipment turnover rises and the variety of assets expands to include mounting equipment, shelters or service rooms, outdoor cabinets, emergency equipment, and more, it is becoming ever more critical for TowerCos to enable a modern asset management function.  

An advanced asset management system leverages integrated technology to establish a single source of truth for both passive and active infrastructure across all stages of the lifecycle—from design and sale to maintenance and dismantling.

This capability presents valuable efficiency and cost savings to the TowerCo. For example, using digital twin technology, TowerCos can analyze the operation of a piece of equipment remotely instead of dispatching a field team. During this pre-analysis phase, organizations can also access the optimal resources to assess the situation and determine next steps. In some cases, the issue may be able to be resolved without the need for an on-site team visit; in more advanced cases, it is also possible to use technology to automate remediation or even create self-healing capabilities. 

Automate processes, enabling valuable time and cost savings Enhance consistency for managing KPIs and SLAs Enable intelligent predictive maintenance and remote intervention 
Optimize field service activities through intelligent forecasting and planning Accelerate time to market through rapid, automated assessment Increase tenancy ratio and overall profitability through digital capabilities 
Benefits of digital continuity for TowerCos

Tapping into the power of digitalization for TowerCos 

As the market experiences an influx of new entrants, TowerCos must distinguish themselves through value-added services and faster time-to-market capabilities. At the same time, they must maintain and enhance their core business as clients demand a swift pace of equipment upgrades and the management of an expanding asset portfolio in the face of shortened technology cycles.  

In this landscape, TowerCos must recognize the need to evolve, not just to meet the needs of their clients, but to maintain their relevance in an increasingly digital world. By building more advanced digital capabilities, these organizations can simultaneously optimize their existing business while also unlocking a growing array of new revenue opportunities—positioning them as active, integral players in the evolving Telco ecosystem.  

TelcoInsights is a series of posts about the latest trends and opportunities in the telecommunications industry – powered by a community of global industry experts and thought leaders.

Meet the author

Jacques Bacry

Executive Vice President – Digital Continuity & Convergence Group Offer Leader
Jacques is Digital Continuity Group Offer Leader, with an objective to define and execute the strategy in this dynamic domain including PLM and Digital twin. His work is focused on unleashing the promise of end-to-end digital continuity across the entire product lifecycle, by seamlessly integrating ideation, engineering, manufacturing, and aftersales into one unified digital collaboration. He is a champion of PLM as an enabler for Industry 4.0 because it integrates the development of products, production, and services.