Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure has acquired an undisclosed stake in Bengaluru-based telecommunications and connectivity services provider iBus Network for ₹150 crores ($21 million). iBus offers in-building wireless solutions, outdoor small cells, and other last-mile connectivity solutions to mobile operators to enable them to serve their customers seamlessly.
The company currently offers four products — iBus Talk, which offers services related to connectivity inside buildings; iBus Find, which helps collect data related to consumer patterns and digital profiling; iBus sync that offers high-speed broadband services; and iBus Sense which is a machine-to-machine IoT communication platform that helps devices communicate with each other.
With Covid forcing professionals and companies to adopt work from home (WFH), the demand for robust in-building connectivity has increased manifold. The need for low latency, high-speed internet is being demanded be it for running schools and colleges online or WFH, e-comm, online transactions, and remote health monitoring has never been felt so urgently before.
iBus, through its coverage of 277 million sq ft across the top 10 cities, serves approx four million customers. The company currently deploys its infrastructure across 233 commercial, residential and retail sites across the country. The funds raised will be used for business expansion plans, support working capital requirements to scale the indoor wireless coverage to 400 million sq ft in the next few years to cover 7 million people.
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.
Morgan Stanley India Infrastructure Fund is a platform of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners. In India, it has invested in Unison Enviro, a city gas distribution company; HealthMap Diagnostics; and LEAP India, which specializes in supply chain solutions such as pooling of pallets.