Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure has acquired an undisclosed stake in iBus Network and Infrastructure, a technology connectivity company, for ₹150 crore ($21 million).
iBus offers in-building wireless solutions, outdoor small cells and other last-mile connectivity solutions to mobile operators. The company currently deploys infrastructure across 233 commercial, residential and retail sites across the country with a tenanted area of 276 million sq ft.
“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. 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 digitalisation of our economy,” Ram Sellaratnam, a co-founder of iBus, said.
Cipher-Plexus Capital Advisor was the exclusive adviser for the transaction.
Ibus’ business model is 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 11 GB per month, compared to only 1 GB per month as recently as March 2017.
About 80 per cent of data consumption takes place indoors where telecom coverage is least adequate and the growth in mobile data consumption and the transition to 4G and 5G requires densification of indoor telecom networks.
“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 investors and family offices. Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure is the India infrastructure investing platform of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners.