Major wireless tower operators in the U.S. are gradually diversifying their operations in the emerging market of India. The tower sector in India is growing through a wave of consolidation. Smaller players are looking at mergers or complete sell out to large global tower operators since these companies lack the wherewithal to take on their large rivals.
Recently, American Tower Corp. (AMT) acquired XCEL Telecom Pvt Ltd., a mobile tower operator in India. XCEL owns 1,667 towers and has another 70 towers in various stages of development. The acquisition increases the total number of American Tower controlled wireless tower sights to over 26,000. Previous to this acquisition, American Tower had entered a build-to-suit agreement with a Tier1 wireless carrier in India to construct 200 tower sites.
Crown Castle International (CCI) is currently in negotiations with two Indian tower operators, Aster Infrastructure and Independent Mobile Infrastructure Ltd. Aster is holding simultaneous negotiation with American Tower.

After China, India is the second largest growth market for wireless services where the subscriber base is expected to be 737 million by 2012. This provides a significant revenue opportunity for the U.S. tower operators. At the same time, operations in India will be low-cost for these companies, which will boost their respective bottom line.
In addition to the U.S. companies, existing major tower operators in India are also trying to merge with small players to achieve the required economies of scale to compete with global giants. Tata-Quippo, a joint venture between Tata Teleservices (TCL) and Quippo Telecom Infrastructure Ltd., Indus Towers, a joint venture between Vodafone Plc (VOD), Bharti Airtel and Idea cellular, and Reliance Telecom Infrastructure are moving aggressively to increase their size of operations.

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