Morgan Stanley and iBus Networks (“iBus”) have announced that Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure has made an investment of Rs 150 Crores (US$ 21 Million) to acquire a stake in iBus.
iBus offers in-building wireless solutions (“IBS”), outdoor small cells and other last-mile connectivity solutions to mobile operators to enable them to serve their customers seamlessly.
The company currently deploys its infrastructure across 233 commercial, residential and retail sites across the country, with a tenanted area of 276 million sqft.
Ram Sellaratnam, Sunil Menon and Subash Vasudevan, Co-Founders of iBus, said,
“We at iBus welcome Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure as an equity partner for the strength of experience in helping companies build scale. Connectivity is fundamental to large developing digital economies like India and our mission is to build an end-to-end intelligent, scalable and convergent connectivity ecosystem.”
They added that Distributed Antenna Systems such as In-Building solutions have been fragmented and silo-ed for a long time. “With this investment, iBus will build scale and eliminate inefficiencies to fast track the essential digitalization of our economy”.
Cipher-Plexus Capital Advisor was the exclusive advisor for the transaction.
The company’s business model is intricately linked to India’s data consumption and digital infrastructure story. India’s per capita data consumption is the highest globally with an average monthly data consumption of 11GB per month compared to only 1 GB per month as recently as March 2017. 80 percent of data consumption takes place indoors where telecom coverage is least adequate and the growth in mobile data consumption and the transition to 4G / 5G requires densification of indoor telecom networks.
With the Government of India’s focus on enhancing digital infrastructure across the country, businesses such as iBus will play a critical role in building such infrastructure and further improving network capacity and coverage.
The company also provides other solutions such as O-RAN deployment and data analytics, which will play an increasingly important role as the country moves towards 5G.
“Our investment will allow iBus to drive consolidation and scale in a fragmented industry while enhancing the mobile user experience”, said Raja Parthasarathy, Managing Director and Co-Head of Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure. Founded in 2013 by three first-generation entrepreneurs, iBus previously raised capital from a number of well-known investors and family offices.