The Largest Cell Tower Companies In The World, And What They Do

cell tower

The Largest Cell Tower Companies In The World, And What They Do

Key Facts

  • There are about 150,000 cell towers in North America.
  • The lifespan of a tower depends on whether it is new or old. The former variety can last longer, i.e., a maximum of 50 years.
  • America Tower has over 219, 000 towers making it the largest cell tower company on the planet.

Cellular phones have become an integral part of modern life, providing convenience and connectivity in ways that were previously unimaginable. To ensure that the use of this technology remains as widespread as possible, cell tower companies are tasked with building cellular networks to cover as much of the population as possible.

These cell towers deliver mobile communications coverage and connectivity mainly to wireless carriers. They also support the needs of public safety networks, as well as TV and radio broadcast companies. Globally, the top cellular towers companies own and operate over one million sites, which host shared telecoms infrastructure.

In this article, we will look at some of the largest cell tower companies in the world (ranked by the number of cell towers) and what they do, as well as some of their biggest achievements.

#10: IHS Towers- 38,975 Towers in Africa, Latin America, Middle East

cell tower

IHS is one of the largest developers of shared communications infrastructure in the world.

IHS Towers is one of the largest cell tower companies in the world, and it’s also a global leader in providing access to cellular coverage for customers. The company has over 38,975,000 tower sites across 11 countries and provides services to some of the biggest names in telecommunication, including Orange, MTN, Vivo, and Millicom.

IHS was listed on the NYSE in October 2021, becoming the largest U.S. listing of a corporation of African ancestry. The business uses six different business models, including developing its own tower sites and leasing them to operators.

It also buys outgoing MNO sites and leases tower space back, manages operator networks with an agreement to lease the sites to other operators, and more. The comprehensive model includes small cells, distributed antenna systems (DAS), fiber to the tower, and in-building technologies.

IHS is extensively committed to bringing broadband Internet to Africa as a whole. IHS collaborates with new telecom firms like Spectranet and Smile to help fund the expansion of their network into metropolitan areas.

#9: Crown Castle – 40,159 Towers in the United States

Crown Castle is a cell tower company that provides wireless communications to customers worldwide. It operates in many different countries and has worked with many businesses, including AT&T Mobility.

The company was founded in 1994 and has headquarters in Houston, Texas, as well as 100 offices. Since its formation, Crown Castle has entered into tower lease agreements with various companies, including T-Mobile U.S. and AT&T Mobility. It has also acquired others to boost its capability and widen its network scope.

On July 19, 2017, Crown Castle agreed to purchase Lightower, a provider of fiber optic networks in the northeastern United States, for about $7.1 billion. With the acquisition, Crown Castle’s fiber network now spans about 60,000 route kilometers. The acquisition significantly affected the second-quarter earnings that were announced in late July.

Sales of tiny cells climbed by 42%, and revenue increased by 3.3%. For additional funding of the Lightower acquisition, Crown Castle also disclosed the sale of $1.5 billion in convertible preferred shares and a $3.25 billion issue of common stock.

 #8: Reliance Infratel – 43,000 Towers in India

India’s Reliance Infratel is one of the largest cell tower companies in the world. The company is located in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra. Its towers are strategically located across the country to provide wireless coverage to customers.

Reliance Infratel also offers a wide range of services, such as wireless data connections and voice calling. In addition to building cellular towers, the company also provides value-added services such as Wi-Fi hotspots and video streaming services.

The company’s core business is providing mobile communications services to its customers through its network of cell sites. This includes providing access to mobile data services such as text messaging and voice calls.

The company also provides broadband solutions to consumers who access the Internet via their phones or tablets. These include a range of broadband products, such as fixed wireless broadband services (FWA) and WiMAX over fiber-optic networks (WOFN).

This enables end users to access high-speed Internet at home instead of using their mobile devices as hotspots when traveling abroad or on holiday away from home.

#7: Vantage Towers – 45,700 Towers in Pan-Europe (8 Countries)

cell tower
Vantage Towers is headquartered in Germany.

Vantage is a leading telecommunications infrastructure company that has been providing services for over 40 years. The company provides wireless and telecom infrastructure service to both the U.S. federal government and private sector clients in the United States and around the world. These products include, but are not limited to, advanced 4G-5G small cell towers.

Vantage offers small cell towers and distributed antenna systems (DAS) solutions to provide voice and data coverage in high-traffic areas like malls and arenas. Although small cells are discrete in size, they can significantly increase coverage and capacity.

They offer adaptable, practical solutions and are becoming more prevalent in cities with high internet usage requirements. While some small cells can span a few hundred meters, others can only provide a focused boost of a dozen meters. They can therefore be positioned reasonably near to one another.

#6: edotco Group (Axiata Group) – 50,251 Towers in Pan-Asia (9 Countries)

cell tower
edotco Group is one of Axiata Group Berhad’s brands.

edotco Group is Asia’s first and largest regional integrated telecoms infrastructure services provider. It’s also the wireless tower business of Malaysian telecommunications group Axiata Group. It specializes in end-to-end tower services solutions such as operations and maintenance (O&M), transmission, energy, build-to-suit, and co-locations.

edotco Group owns and controls over 50,000 towers throughout Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The company aspires to excel in telecom infrastructure services and solutions.

Its cutting-edge real-time monitoring solution, echo, has resulted in considerable gains in field operations while maximizing operational efficiency in telecommunications infrastructure battery, energy, and fuel use. The Frost & Sullivan 2021 Award was recently given to the edotco Group for its outstanding business growth and performance in Southeast Asia.

#5: BSNL Tower Corporation – 74,000 Towers in India

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BSNL is headquartered in New Delhi, India.

BSNL, or Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, is India’s largest telecom company and one of the three major players in the country. It was founded in 2000 and has headquarters in New Delhi, India. BSNL Mobile is a significant provider of GSM networks in India under CellOne and BSNL. It also has extensive network coverage in both urban and rural India. It has more than 121.82 million users in India.

Tele-voting, Account Card Calling (ACC), Virtual Private Network (VPN), India Telephone Card, Premium Rate Service, and Free Phone Service (FPH), are all services provided by BSNL Mobile (PRM). It also provides IPTV, which allows consumers to watch Voice and Video Over Internet Protocol and television over the Internet.

BSNL Broadband offers enterprise customers telecom services such as Internet leased lines, P2P, and MPLS. It also offers landline and fixed-line services via CDMA technology, as well as its substantial optical fiber network. It also offers DataOne as a BSNL Broadband service, NetOne as a postpaid service, and dial-up Internet access as a prepaid service.

#4: Cellnex Telecom – 102,712 Towers in Pan-Europe (12 Countries)     

cell tower
Cellnex has its headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.

Cellnex Telecom is a European company that supplies phone service to customers across the country. The company was founded in 2015 and has grown to become one of the largest carriers on the continent.

They offer voice, data, text, and video services across multiple platforms, including cell phones, tablets, computers, and fixed-line connections for businesses and homes. The company’s Internet services include circuit-switched data, packet-switched data, and other advanced technologies that allow for quick data transmission speeds and low latency.

The company has over 1,600 employees. Its activities are grouped into four major categories: telecommunications infrastructure services, audiovisual broadcasting networks, security and emergency network services, and solutions for intelligent management of urban infrastructures and services (smart cities and the Internet of Things).

#3: Summit Digitel Infrastructure – 151,000 Towers in India

Summit Digitel Infrastructure is one of the largest cell tower companies in the world. It has a network of over 150,000 towers across the globe, with more being added all the time. Summit Digitel is also one of India’s major providers of passive infrastructure, ensuring high-quality goods and services throughout the organization.

To provide the greatest quality services, their teams work together both internally and with external partners. Its operations can be broken down into three categories: the environment, safety, and service.

Its websites are built to meet the most recent telecom technology standards. Mobile network operators may also use their infrastructure for new applications/network solutions such as Outdoor Small Cells, Massive MIMO, AI, and IoT.

The site infrastructure is scalable and may be customized to meet the needs of mobile network operators and future technologies. They enable their partners to deliver seamless voice and data services in urban and rural settings.

#2: Indus Towers – 185,447 Towers in India

Indus Towers, a company based in India, is one of the largest cell tower companies in the world. The company was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Gurgaon, India. The company’s primary business is to provide wireless communication for the Indian market.

The company also offers various services, including installing, maintaining, and operating cell towers. In addition, it offers related services like tower security systems, network planning, and management.

It has a market capitalization of $7 billion and a net profit of $800 million. Indus Towers Limited was formed through a shared venture between entities of the Bharti Group, including Vi (which provides telecom services under the brand names Idea and Vodafone) and Bharti Infratel (which provides telecom and tower infrastructure services in India under the brand names Bharti Infratel and Airtel Limited).

With approximately 172,094 towers and 314,106 co-locations, as well as a statewide footprint covering all 22 telecom circles, Indus Towers Limited has the most coverage in India and has already achieved 288,013 tenancies, a world-best in the telecom tower business. Bharti Infratel Limited and Indus Towers Limited merged to establish Indus Towers Limited. 

#1: American Tower – 219,226 Towers Globally

cell tower
American Tower Corporation has its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts.

American Tower is a leading wireless infrastructure provider. The company is one of the most recognized brands in the industry, with more than 26 years of experience and over 6,000 employees worldwide.

As the largest global owner and operator of cell towers, American Tower has more than 219,000 sites in its network. With a market capitalization of $121.40 billion and a net operating income of about $3.132 billion in 2021, it is the largest company on this list.

It specializes in wireless communications systems, including cellular networks and wireless backhaul networks. It also offers data center solutions for mobile operators around the world. In addition, it provides equipment support, management systems solutions, engineering services, and cloud-based software solutions to its customers across a range of industries.

What’s more, it offers high-quality service at reasonable prices through its diverse portfolio of services like tower rental and leasing, communication systems installation and maintenance, tower base management services (including site selection), network management solutions such as remote access management, network security monitoring software, and mobile device management software.

The Largest Cell Tower Companies In The World: Summary

1American Tower – 219,226 Towers Globally
2Indus Towers – 185,447 Towers in India
3Summit Digitel Infrastructure – 151,000 Towers in India
4Cellnex Telecom – 102,712 Towers in Pan-Europe
5BSNL Tower Corporation – 74,000 Towers in India
6edotco Group (Axiata Group) – 50,251 Towers in Pan-Asia
7Vantage Towers – 45,700 Towers in Pan-Europe
8Reliance Infratel – 43,000 Towers in India
9Crown Castle – 40,159 Towers in the United States
10IHS Holding – 38,975 Towers in Africa, Latin America, Middle East

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the largest tower company in the world?

America Tower is the largest cell tower company worldwide, with more than 219 thousand towers. In 2021, the company had a market capitalization of $121.40 billion and a net operating income of about $3.132 billion, making it the largest on our list.

How do cell tower companies make money?

Cell tower companies make money by leasing space on their towers to wireless carriers. This arrangement can be lucrative for both parties because the cell tower company gets a steady revenue stream in return for providing service coverage for the carrier’s customers.

The largest cell tower companies in the world also earn money by installing and maintaining new towers and equipment on existing towers.

What does Indus Tower do?

Indus Towers Limited is a privately held firm that provides passive infrastructure services to telecom carriers and other wireless service providers such as broadband service providers. It was founded in November 2006 and has a market capitalization of $7 billion with a net profit of $800 million.

How many cell towers are there in the U.S. in 2022?

At the beginning of 2022, there were around 325,000 to 375,000 cell sites and approximately 150,000 cell towers in the United States. These cell towers communicate with each other and transmit cellular signals to wireless devices.

Does 5G need more towers?

Although 5G operates at high speeds, it does not reach as far as 4G. Furthermore, large buildings and trees may block the frequency of the 5G network, causing a variety of issues. As a result, more towers are required for coverage, which is both time-consuming and costly.

Are cell towers a good investment?

Cell towers are an excellent investment, but there are a few cons to consider. For a landowner, long-term lease agreements (25+ years) and property easements may impact the future development potential on the property.

What is the lifespan of a cell tower?

New Galvanized steel towers are designed to last for 30-50 years. It’s not unusual to find towers moved after being re-installed at another location. Older steel towers may have a shorter life depending on maintenance.

Will 5G replace cell towers?

The quick answer is no. 5G is not a vehicle for the replacement of existing cell towers, but rather a means for improving their value and necessity.

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