Ascend Telecom Infrastructure: Crafting Innovation for Steady Communications

Ascend Telecom Infrastructure
Group CEO | Dr Sushil Kumar Chaturvedi V.S.S.M.

Telecommunication has brought about the greatest revolution on a global scale. The rapid development of a swiftly developing country like India was only possible with this ever-advancing technological marvel. Wondrously, we are always connected because of the service operators in the forefront, who provide simple, easy and affordable access to Telecom.

Furthermore, the greater marvel is that all major telecom operators can provide seamless and reasonably priced anytime-anywhere connectivity thanks to Ascend Telecom Infrastructure Pvt Ltd’s extensive Pan-Indian Telecom installations network provides the major telecom companies with the strongest foundation of passive infrastructure.

Ascend’s clients wholeheartedly endorse the expertly guided team led by the exemplary Group CEODr Sushil Kumar Chaturvedi V.S.S.M.

Bequest of Praiseworthy Perfections

Jio’s Varu Kumar appreciated Ascend Telecom with his precious words, “Well done, Ascend team, for achieving SLA uptime in 2022; keep the same momentum for upcoming years also.” At the same time, Jio’s Manish Kumar added, “Great Effort! Congratulations to the Ascend team to achieve all-time best NWA on very first day of the year. Please try to sustain on the same performance consistently.”

Airtel’s Harish Gambhir praised, “Thanks for your contribution to achieve the AOP for FY21’22; excellent job done by all of you to achieve the target. Please do pass my thanks to the teams working hard and not looped in this mail. Thanks to all of you for excellent support. Looking for your support to archive the target in FY22’23.” To it, Airtel’s Saurabh Srivastava added, “Excellent job by Ascend operation team. Well supported by the fiber ops team. Keep it up and be prepared for monsoon in the coming months.”

These are just a few of the many endorsements for Ascend, which now has $110 million in revenue and $45 million in EBITDA, as well as a future-ready network deployed across India managed from the Bangalore headquarters and 18 Circle offices throughout the states. Ascend now has a fully active portfolio of over 7500 sites and over 12000 tenancies, thanks to profitable operations, sustained growth, and the establishment of several industry benchmarks.

Ascend began its journey in 2007 with the vision of meeting the increasing demand for Telecom Infrastructure services in the rapidly growing telecom industry, as well as addressing the opportunity to contribute to India’s enormous growth since then.

According to Dr Chaturvedi, after successfully overcoming the initial challenges of establishing Master Service Agreements with Telecom Operators, Ascend addressed the long gestation of infrastructure investments by raising funds from various institutions, designing cutting-edge towers, managing site construction logistics, and ensuring equipment supplies to a large geography such as India.

As part of its inorganic expansion program, Ascend acquired another emerging player in the industry, ‘India Telecom Industries (ITIL),’ with over 3000 Tower sites operational across seventeen states, in 2010, transforming itself into a recognized player with nearly 4000 sites and Pan India operations.

Acing Towards Dynamic Success

Ascend went on to build a significant revenue base, with over 5000 sites and over 10000 tenancies by the year 2016, by exceeding their commitments and impressing the industry with Service Levels that far exceeded expectations. “We have successfully acquired several small and regional players over the years with accretive growth and profitability,” expresses Dr Chaturvedi.

GIP (USA), the world’s largest infrastructure fund, has invested in Ascend. As a result of its ESG commitment, Ascend has achieved over 98% grid connectivity while maintaining one of the industry’s lowest energy costs.

Ascend has many industry firsts in both cost-effective infrastructure designs and innovative energy solutions, as well as cutting-edge operations via remote site management and green initiatives, all backed by an exceptional team of Telecom and infrastructure professionals.

According to Dr Chaturvedi, Ascend is a one-stop shop that provides cutting-edge Digital Connectivity through Passive Infrastructure Deployments and Services to all Telcos and ITES companies in India. Ascend provides wireless Base Station deployments spanning the technology spectrum from 2G to 5G, WiFi services, In Building solutions, Fibre To The Home, NLD services, Edge Data Centres, Indoor/Outdoor DAS, IoT deployments, and is prepared to deploy future 5G services with its future-ready network.

Ascend has a cutting-edge NOC that enables automated operations with proactive maintenance across India, ensuring the highest service levels. With a 50% green portfolio comprised of non-fossil energy sources such as solar and wind energy, Ascend is a pioneer in energy management.

Championing Telecom

Ascend is managed by a professional team with over 300 years of combined experience managing national/international and defence telecom networks.

“With the industry’s best service levels, lowest TCO (Total Cost of Operations), and advanced energy management, we have established ourselves as the most preferred business partner,” says Dr Chaturvedi (VSSM), who has been the Group Chief Executive Officer of Ascend Telecom since 2012. He is a seasoned telecom executive with over 35 years of global experience leading National and International Telecom organizations across geographies.

He says, “Telecom, as a lifeline and a major contributor to economic growth, was the obvious choice for a career.” As an ITS officer in DOT (Department of Telecom, Government of India), Started from POTS (Plain Old Telephone service), transformed to PANS (Plenty of New services), from Fixed landline to Wireless cellular, as Director of BSNL, the largest state-owned Telco, ushering a revolution.

As Telecom Advisor with ITU (International Telecom Union, Geneva), Dr Chaturvedi spearheaded the Digitalization of South African Developing countries (SADC). He is on the quest for advanced technology, with GDSS Inc., USA, pioneered Triple Play services overseeing deployment in USA, Africa, and SE Asia.

Connecting India, Digitally

To bridge the Telecom divide in Indian Urban and Rural Teledensity, Dr Chaturvedi envisaged Infrastructure as a Service with Ascend Telecom. Aligned with the Digital India Vision of Honourable Prime Minister, Dr Chaturvedi is implementing The Next Gen World Class Telecom Services, with a vision to provide Telecom Services Pan India at affordable cost.

Under his leadership, Ascend commends the business today with many industry firsts in both Infra development, Energy supply solutions, remote management, Green initiatives, marking their dominance on quality of build and business excellency, thereby a preferred business partner of all Telco’s.

He was awarded a Gold Medal for completing Bachelor’s in Electronics & Telecommunications Engineering with Honours from NIT Kurukshetra, India, in 1982. After gaining Industry experience in senior Management positions, he decided to validate and sharpen his skills and earned an MBA from the prestigious New York Institute of Technology, USA.

Awarded PHD from Ecole Supérieure Robert de Sorbon, France in 2017. Recognizing his contribution to the Telecom Industry in India and overseas, Dr Chaturvedi was awarded the most prestigious President’s Medal (VSSM) for distinguished Telecom services.

Before Ascend, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of ORG Informatics Ltd, managing the Telecom/System Integration Business of India, diversified into Satellite services in Europe and Southeast Asia. As Vice President of GDSS Inc. USA, Dr Chaturvedi pioneered and deployed triple-play services across geographies in Africa and SE Asia.

An ITS, as Director of BSNL, he introduced cellular services and Optical Fibre connectivity. As Telecom Advisor of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), was responsible for the Telecom development of SADC (South African Development Countries. As Design Engineer, was a Key member of the Joint Indo-Soviet Space program, Avionics Design Bureau, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

Virtues of A Prominent Leader

With proven expertise during his professional career, owning the responsibility end to end, ‘Leading from the front’ and ‘walking the talk’ are Dr Chaturvedi’s USPs. Transforming challenges into accretive opportunities with inspiring leadership, he has steered Ascend to a top-notch position in the Telecom Industry.

Being passionate and focused on achieving new heights has created confidence in his leadership. Managing the ever-increasing expectations of the customers on the one hand and demanding stakeholders on the other, with the employee-centric policy of inclusive growth and profitability, he has assured employee loyalty along with Company growth.

Ascend’s confidence due to its success in past endeavors and its commitment to enhancing the lives and expectations of people are behind Ascend’s aim of providing Voice and Data access to everyone that would improve every facet of their life. Nurturing Innovative social causes like Telemedicine, Edu-tech, e-Commerce, Entertainment and Economic services is Ascend’s guiding force that keeps the momentum going.

Focus on ESG has been an accelerator. Personal leadership qualities of leading by example, with People at Heart, having a future vision, and successfully transforming challenges into opportunities have made Ascend the best company to work for.

Ascending Innovative Distinctions 

Business analytics and leveraging technology have been the guiding mantra of Dr Chaturvedi. He successfully exploited the technology-enabled productivity tools for Operations Excellence and energy efficiency, which became the USP of Ascend. He says, “We have been a leader in applying embedded Machine Learning capabilities into real-time analytics. AI tools provide the required advance warning systems to our TOC, and the resulting supervised learning has enabled us to remain a leader in sustained Service level deliveries. Capabilities developed on ML platforms have helped us evolve energy-saving programs specifically focusing on urban and rural requirements.”

AI-based simulators developed in Ascend’s TOC engage its energy research teams, intervening successfully to improve technology and design in advance while Telecom loads continuously increase.

Sustainability in energy efficiency is our ESG Goal and our priority. Dynamic Energy Management with Green energy intervention has helped us to continuously shrink our energy costs, reduce our carbon footprint and create a win-win for our customers,” he adds.

According to Dr Chaturvedi, they must overcome many challenges to stay at the top. Competing and ever-evolving Industry dynamics demand constant innovation and differentiation to remain relevant and ahead of the curve. Pride in ownership and assured career progression, with commensurate reward and recognition, ensures the best from Employees. Ascend, having the least attrition amongst its peers, is a testimony of employees’ pride in working with Ascend.

Re-inventing the Future with Advancements

Being proactive, transforming challenges into opportunities has been the hallmark of Dr Chaturvedi, ensuring consistent growth notwithstanding the challenges. Prioritization of the aspirations of all stakeholders, rather than one at the cost of other, is the key mantra. Both Organization and family need to be treated as living entities, equally important, with mutual regard and respect. Effective Time management for striking the perfect balance is a prerequisite. He believes, “Thankfully, my very understanding family, who respects my professional responsibilities, and the employees’ trust and devotion, help me enjoy the work–life balance.”

“Be forward-looking, think ahead, walk that extra mile, and challenge your achievements every time,” Dr Chaturvedi advises aspiring entrepreneurs, “Your career will progress on its own.”

The cornerstone of his journey has been to improve human capital by recognizing people’s strengths, nurturing talent, upgrading skill sets, and providing world-class work culture ethics. The recipe for success has been to identify and exceed stakeholders’ expectations by creating a competitive and innovative ecosystem. Constant evolution and differentiation have aided in remaining relevant in the face of adversity. Early identification of opportunities and proactive development of mitigation strategies for challenges has resulted in consistent growth.

Failures are stepping stones in the journey and must be accepted while learning from them to ensure a strong strategy.

Get ready for the New Normal. With the rollout of 5G in India, new opportunities are on the horizon. “We must innovate, differentiate, and move forward proactively,” he insists, adding that conscious efforts must be made to ensure the well-being of all stakeholders, keeping them motivated and focused on improving productivity. Employees who are healthy, productive, and motivated, combined with visionary leadership, are the perfect recipe for success against all odds. The goal should be to build a value chain that all stakeholders can be proud of across the organization.

Dr Chatuervedi reveals that telecommunications technology has progressed from EDGE to early 2G days, and then to the high-speed 5G networks being rolled out today, with 6G knocking on the door. The increase in data users, broadband access in remote areas, and adoption of new offerings has been phenomenal.

Transforming Tomorrow

“Today, Telecom affects every aspect of life. You name it: e-commerce, telemedicine, education technology, transportation aggregators, entertainment, and business.” Telecom proved to be a lifeline during the recent COVID pandemic.

With the introduction of 5G, low latency, high speed, and multifold increased M2M capacity usher in a slew of new services and opportunities. Robotic surgery, driverless cars, efficient energy management, traffic management, pollution control, and CCTV surveillance are all possible with advanced automation, allowing Smart cities to provide high-quality citizen-centric services. Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Machine Learning, and Cloud Computing will take immersive entertainment content, borderless business exchange, and industrial automation to new heights.

Ascend has always strived to be the first to capitalize on business opportunities and increase the company’s market share. Ascend is now proud to have a future-proof infrastructure and to be a preferred business partner across the customer spectrum. All industry players testify to having a well-balanced portfolio. “Despite being an independent player, we have maintained our position as a leading Infrastructure Provider through sustained operational excellence and innovative energy management,” says Dr Chaturvedi.

Ascend has always been the first to adapt to changes in technological developments and industry/customer requirements, ensuring its growth with the changes. “Our infrastructure has been proactively upgraded and is ready for 5G deployment,” he says. Ascend is expanding to capitalize on opportunities in adjacent markets, developing new lines of business, FTTX, Fiber to the Home, NLD (National Long Distance Optical Fibre) Infrastructure, DAS, In Building Solutions, and Edge Data Centres, to name a few, enabling accretive revenue streams from diverse and emerging lines of business.

Ascend has embarked on an ambitious Organic and Inorganic growth plan, with the goal of becoming a $250 million company by 2025, with the support of GIP(USA).

Ascend has established itself as one-stop shop catering to all infrastructure requirements of our present and future customers,” concludes Dr Chaturvedi.

Testimony of Triumph:

  • Well done, Team ASCEND. The way you have managed the show was remarkable and we expect the same rhythm from now onwards.”
  • Brijesh P S Yadhav, Reliance Industries Ltd.
  • Ascend team done good improvement in HPSC/LPSC. Rest Sites have to close on priority for. We are on a good track with weekly call.”
  • Anurag Singh Chauhan, Ericson.
  • I salute Team Ascend for displaying the true spirit of business partnership with us. It was indeed a tough task to make 17 sites RFAI in reasonably such a short time, enabling LTC to make our very critical Mumbai-Delhi link-up. Once again, thanks to the team for their support and efforts and also excellent support from Ascend management.”
  • Sourabh Gahlaut, Lightstorm.