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Ramboll India: Dominant player in the tower infrastructure space

October 13, 2014
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Telecom operators are increasingly looking for infrastructure providers’ assistance to manage the continuing growth in mobile and data services. A key company in the infrastructure provider space is Ramboll India Private Limited, part of the Denmark-based Ramboll Group, which designs and provides telecom tower services in India. It recently came into the spotlight when it was awarded a major contract by Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited for its tubular telecom towers, which will be used by the latter to install its 4G infrastructure before launching services. The first order of more than 3,200 towers was delivered in January 2014. With roll-out obligations for broadband wireless access spectrum holders ending in 2015, the demand for durable and easy-to-install towers such as Ramboll’s is set to rise.

tele.net takes a look at the company’s operations and experience in India…

Background and India operations

Ramboll was established at the end of World War II, in 1945, to tap the emerging demand for infrastructure. It has since evolved into a leading global engineering consultancy firm with its headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, and a presence in 21 countries.

In India, the Ramboll Group operates across various sectors including buildings, transport, environment, energy, oil and gas, telecom, and management consultancy services. In 2013, the company’s revenues from its operations in India amounted to DKK 62.56 million, about two-thirds of which came from its tower business.

Ramboll’s telecom business in India involves the analysis and design of masts, towers and poles. The company offers tower marketing and technical support, and manufactures and sells its towers through its four partners in the country. Its consultancy services involve network studies, telecom economics management, software tools and validation, as well as the upgradation of existing towers. It also undertakes measurement of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation of telecom towers.

The company’s design and technical support services have been employed at over 20,000 towers in India. About 80 per cent of the tower companies in the country are using its design while 50 per cent of the total towers in India have been deployed by Ramboll itself.

Design innovation

Ramboll introduced the triangular tubular lattice tower concept, with six to nine bracings, in India in 2005, in collaboration with quality Indian steel manufacturers. These towers have since been widely accepted by operators as the most cost-effective solution for their networks.

They are lighter in terms of weight and cause fewer emissions in comparison with standard four-legged towers. In addition, these towers are able to withstand tough wind and soil conditions, making them ideal for Indian operations, especially in rural areas. The durability of Ramboll’s towers was confirmed during Cyclone Phailin, which hit Odisha in 2013. About 60 towers had fallen in the state due to the extreme weather conditions, but the Ramboll-designed towers did not suffer damage.

The company’s designs are focused on decreasing site costs for customers. Its masts and tower designs are optimised with regard to foundations, logistics, wind load and installation time. In addition, Ramboll also undertakes the testing of its products to maintain quality, apart from conducting random checks of raw materials, as well as third-party security checks. The company recently tested a 40 metre telecom tower in Chennai, where its safety assessment demonstrated that the EMF radiation was well within the prescribed safety limits. Another aspect that reinforces the company’s credibility is the fact that all its partners in India have ISO 9001 certification.

The way forward

To give an impetus to its Indian operations, the Ramboll Group is investing in a Global Engineering Centre in Gurgaon, the purpose of which will be to act as a hub for research and development (R&D) activities across all segments of the company’s operations. The centre will also provide employment to more than 600 people. This level of R&D will support the company in perfecting its tower designs for deployment in the country’s rough rural terrain.

With its strong background and R&D initiatives, the company is poised to grow in the Indian telecom market, which has entered the next phase of growth marked by a data revolution. The demand for tower infrastructure is only going to increase, given the government’s proposals to erect telecom towers in unconnected areas of the country, and the growing mobile phone subscriber base.

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