Majid Al-Kharoosi, Managing Director, Oman Tower Company
In today’s hyper-connected world, telecommunications plays a pivotal role in shaping our lives. It has transformed the way we communicate, work, and even socialize. And, behind the scenes of this digital revolution lies a critical element – the robust and state-of-the-art telecom infrastructure that serves as the backbone for the growth of telecom services, bridging the digital divide, connecting the unconnected, and facilitating ubiquitous mobile connectivity. As we enter a new era where data explosion is the norm and advanced data services like 4G and 5G roll out at a breakneck pace, the importance of a reliable telecom infrastructure has become increasingly evident. Playing a pivotal role in the development and deployment of such infrastructure, a pioneering company that has been driving the industry forward and shaping the future of telecommunications in Oman is Oman Tower Company (OTC).
Incepted in 2018, OTC specializes in the construction, rental, and management of top-quality telecom towers and provides the passive infrastructure to wireless telecommunication service operators and government entities in an open-access manner.Its primary mission is to reduce the number of redundant telecommunications towers by facilitating tower sharing, which is vital in bridging the digital divide and ensuring ubiquitous mobile connectivity.
OTC’s Journey to Towering Success
Like any successful venture, OTC’s journey to prominence was not without obstacles. In the early stages, it was quite challenging for the company to getnational mobile network operators on board, given the shortage of companies thatspecializes in massive telecommunication infrastructure in Oman. So, OTC had tostand on its own feet and establish its own structures from scratch.Another hurdle that OTC faced was the limited market size in Oman, which made it difficult for the company to expand and scale its operations to achieve market fulfillment.
To overcome this challenge, OTC aligned its efforts with the requirements of the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority. This involved developing a plan to cover remote areas and finding solutions to provide the necessary infrastructure to support areas with high density. “OTC sought other opportunities to expand its portfolio to both allow for a higher appeal in its towers and be able to provide its services. OTC worked to achieve this by joining tenders for special and private entity telecom projects,” opines Majid Al-Kharoosi the Managing Director of Oman Tower Company.
While the mobile network operators began outsourcing the passive infrastructure services to OTC, the management of existing towers piqued the interest of various entities in Oman, which boosted OTC’s number of towers available for collocation from the initial stages and improved the company’s launch into the market. These critical phases laid the foundation for OTC to be where it is today.
OTC’s Recipe for Success: Adaptability, Innovation, and Sustainability
OTC aspires to be the natural choice for open-access wireless telecom infrastructure in Oman.And it strives to achieve this by staying true to its core tenets of adaptability, innovation, and sustainability.As a firm believer in creating a sustainable telecom market, the company is committed to reducing visual pollution caused by telecom infrastructure, particularly in urban areas, and is dedicated to enhancing the aesthetic appeal of telecom towers. Central to OTC’s business model is adaptability, which enables the company to truly set itself apart from the competition, and with innovation at its core, it has created a strong foundation for serving its customers effectively. “OTC is continuously building on its expertise by providing and testing different solutions which ultimately enable our clients to operate efficiently by allowing them to reduce CAPEX and OPEX on passive infrastructure and invest more in the latest telecom technology,” asserts Majid.
Attaining a Unique Edge in the Market
Amidst a sea of startups vying for attention, OTC stands out with its bold foray into a market that is typically dominated by large international companies. Unlike these competitors, who would begin operations in a new country by acquiring an existing tower portfolio under a sale and lease-back agreement with a mobile operator, OTC started from scratch and built new towers one by one. So, despite its limited financial and human resources, it had to offer the prices and services of large industrial companies from day one. This forced the company to mobilize true entrepreneurship skills: Hard work, creativity, multitasking, and accelerated training of new employees.
Another significant challenge for OTC was convincing its clients that it could deliver the required services despite its lack of operating experience. “Besides, since OTC was the first independent tower rental company to launch in Oman and one of the first in the Middle East, with limited financial resources, we had to rely mainly on fresh graduates, train them at an accelerated pace, and give them the confidence required to achieve their tasks despite their young age and limited experience, which required strong leadership skills,” affirms Majid.
Cultivating a Sustainable Work Environment
The uniqueness of OTC also comes from its empowering work culture, which encourages collaboration, innovation, and creativity among its young employees that currently makes up the majority of its workforce.To this end, OTC invests in the development of its Omani employees by offering robust training and abundant job opportunities. By continuously integrating fresh talent, OTC ensures a steady flow of new ideas and knowledge, allowing experienced employees to have ample time to innovate and drive new projects forward. At the heart of OTC’s ethos lies the principle of enrichment. By prioritizing the holistic well-being of its workforce, OTC creates a sustainable work environment that promotes job satisfaction and long-term success. “Transparency and support are fundamental pillars of our work culture.We believe that employees at OTC should not be burdened with issues and obstacles for long periods of time. Thus, we holdconstant meetings to support employees with any pending issues. This approach enables them to focus fully on their work and allows for the rotation of tasks, contributing to a dynamic and efficient work environment,” adds Majid.
Continues Playing a Vital Role in the Telecommunications Sector
It took OTC nearly 2 years to construct its first 620 telecom sites following the project launch.However, the company impressively managed to complete the next 500 sitesin just six months.Clearly, OTC is experiencing rapid growth, which is expected to continue even with the arrival of competitors in the market.The company’s goal is to reach a critical mass in the industry by building more telecom towers and then increasing the number of mobile operators collocating on each tower. It also plans to enhance the revenue generated by each tower by offering new services such as power management, shelter space rental, and advertising.
“OTC will also accompany the needs of its clients, for example for the deployment of high-frequency 5G, with innovative tower solutions for dense urban environments. Our aim is to play a leading role, in the long run, in the development of the telecommunications sector in Oman,” concludes Majid.