Russian Telecom Boosting Sharing Economy

The Russian Towers

3. Good Health and Well-Being 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

The mission of the Russian Towers Group directly corresponds to the UN Global Goals - both are designed to bring the future. The Russian Towers Group is a market leader of the independent telecommunication infrastructure in Russia that serves as a role model for its peers worldwide. Not only does the innovation contribute to their business, but their whole business is an innovation. Their business model is about a joint use of telecom infrastructure services and partnerships in operating and establishing the infrastructure.

Authors

Maxim Alexandrov

Maxim Alexandrov

Maria Lichagina

Maria Lichagina

Filippo Quadrio

Filippo Quadrio

Anastasia Galkina

Anastasia Galkina

Viktoriya Akhmurtova

Viktoriya Akhmurtova

School

National Research University Higher School of Economics

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Professor

Ekaterina Ivanova

Ekaterina Ivanova

Innovation

Operating as a B2B business, the Russian Towers company is not well known to end-users but without them 63 regions in Russia could not enjoy the benefits of telecommunication services such as mobile Internet access. The core business of the Russian Towers is the creation of telecommunication facilities and provision of a wide range of services connected with them. The company creates a construction site for the new telecommunication tower depending on the characteristics of the region and its soil, climate and weather conditions and the environment as a whole. The company also cooperates with the owners of the city infrastructure such as the light and electricity companies, modernizing the poles to the stage of double purpose.

According to Alexander Chub, President of the Russian Towers Group, “The company is built on the idea, and the first innovative idea that formed the basis of the company’s activities is the idea of sharing. Today, the term sharing economy permeates the entire space in which we exist. We see it clearly in transport and housing. Any area of our life can be illustrated by some example from the sharing economy.” Due to this, the tower infrastructure is intended for joint use by the telecommunication companies that rent a place on the tower and do not have to control the accuracy of their equipment. The Russian Towers Group provides round-the-clock remote monitoring and control of work to avoid any problems and prevent interruptions, which helps reduce the cost of mobile communications and Internet connections for the end-users.

Russian Telecom Boosting Sharing Economy

Inspiration

The Russian Towers Group is currently one of the 15 largest independent tower operators in Europe. Our interviewee Alexander Chub, President of the company, was directly involved in its growth. According to the corporate culture of the company, its most valuable asset are its employees and their competence and engagement are the basis of the company’s successful development. From the words of Alexander, it is clear that it is precisely people who are the engines of progress and constant development of the Russian Towers Group. Mr. Chub shared, “The work process is an endless development - and within the framework of this endless development the following question arises: who should actually do it? People should do it. And the innovative approach is that these people should be trained, should be motivated and should want to work in such an environment."

Employees feel that they matter and want to be involved in the process. Each employee has his or her own key role and each role contributes to the development and improvement of the company. Alexander points out, “But I do not even like the word 'position'. I like the word 'role' because 'position' is an atavism. In our life, the role is what determines today what tasks a person undertakes to solve, what tasks are delegated to him, what powers he has for solving these problems, what resources are available to him for this, and how much money he is paid for it if he solves his tasks well.” Those who come to work for the company understand how important it is to provide uninterrupted telecommunication services because they themselves use the same services every day.

For example, one of the most recent projects the company is working on is creation of the 5G infrastructure, which aims to provide telecommunication services for residential infrastructure such as local transportation systems and city security systems. Initially, as Alexander said, “I have always believed that 5G is already an unmanned vehicle, the management of fully automated enterprises, some complicated medical processes where we cannot achieve perfection. I believe that 5G is a wireless connection, wireless Internet in any agreed industrial perimeters." But, as you can see, the company decided to conquer this peak. The Russian Towers Group works closely with the city council and telecom operators to implement this project with a minimum of new facilities by modernizing the existing infrastructure of towers, networks and systems in selected areas. Since the company is a leader in the innovations of this industry, it is hopeful that soon the medical, industrial, educational systems, security systems and others will be equipped with better communications, which will help to debug processes. The main inspiration is the fact that employees see the results of their own work every day and that makes one feel honored.

Overall impact

The Russian Towers is an intermediary invisible to end users, which is driving development of telecommunication system services to end users, to businesses such as telecommunication operators and to the governments and local authorities making every effort to drive their innovation. The appearance of modern cities depends on a stable and reliable telecom infrastructure, as it provides the security services through surveillance systems, operates the transportation networks helping to monitor the routes and control the traffic, enabling citizens in 63 Russian regions to be connected to the Internet any time anywhere from every part of the neighborhood where it is usually hard to stay connected.

Business benefit

Founded in 2009 by industry professionals Garth Self and Peter Owen Edmunds, the Russian Towers Group celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. In 2009, the company signed its first contract for the construction and lease of 55 towers and today has reached the portfolio of more than 4,500 sites and has spread across Russia although being known across the borders as well. Being innovators in this area, the Russian Towers managed quickly to take this niche demonstrating an enormous growth in only a decade.

The Russian Towers is one of the largest independent tower operators in Europe. Its success has been recognized by different ratings. Ten years ago, each of the Russian mobile operators had been developing independently according to its own rules and suddenly the Russian Towers company appeared on the market. The company offered a completely new industrial innovation, the creation of a passive infrastructure by own finance and providing it to all operators at the same time.

Social and environmental benefit

The social benefit seems obvious, because the whole idea of the company is to create a tower infrastructure, which is used by the telecom operators to provide reliable and necessary services to society. To achieve this, the Russian Tower Group uses the most modern equipment for its towers and even has a number of towers and antennas suitable for particular landscapes since Russia has a wide diversity of climates.

Environmental benefit is closely linked with the quality of equipment and the materials used. Leaving all the minor technological aspects aside, sites are produced from a material that is reliable and does not need to be replaced for several years, which means the negative output of its production is low. The appliances used are energy efficient, which aids in reducing resource depletion.

The fact that the business model of the company promotes the idea of partnerships of telecom operators contributes to both environmental and social aspects. On the one hand, having no need to construct and provide service to their own towers, the operators do not do extra work, including bureaucracy and paper work when agreeing upon the construction site with contractors, equipment providers and local authorities. Thus, the cost of telecommunication is lower and more affordable to end users.

On the other hand, when there is no need to build towers by every telecom operator there is a clear benefit to the nature because the landscape is not disturbed by the new infrastructure. Alexander also mentions in a conversation about the double purpose poles. He shared, “Our second great innovation in urban environments is to utilize already existing city poles for creation of telecom infrastructure. Thus, we develop a digital city without overloading city landscape with additional sites." This shows a certain concern and care of the company for the environment, its resources and especially for the landscape.

Interview

Alexander Chub, Sustained sharing economy from the Russian Towers point of view

Photo of interviewee

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The Russian Towers

The Russian Towers

Moscow, RU

Business Website: https://rtowers.ru/

Year Founded: 2009

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

The Russian Towers Group is a market leader of independent infrastructure, an operator and an owner of the antenna mast facilities, a partner of the telecom operators in creation of the modern telecommunication infrastructure. The Russian Towers belongs to the top 15 largest independent tower operators in Europe.