For most of us, the COVID-19 pandemic meant shifting our lives online — calling, connecting and streaming every day, from city streets to country retreats. All of this was possible thanks to telecommunications stalwarts like Delmec and Helios Towers, and the telecommunications infrastructure they’re rolling out across the world.
“Our operations have tripled in size over the last three years,” Delmec CEO Kealan Delaney says. “The demand for infrastructure has risen sharply with a renewed emphasis on the provision of fast, reliable connectivity. As a result, we’ve seen year-on-year growth of 50 percent, with global revenue now approaching €30 million [US$32.2 million].”
This success has been a long time in the making. Originally part of a group founded by Irish brothers in 1975, Delmec has grown from a steel manufacturing company to a global leader in telecoms network services. Headquartered in Ireland, Delmec also has offices in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Poland, Pakistan and the Philippines.
It was in the lush forests of Ghana that Delmec forged one of its most pivotal partnerships. “It was for us, a standard tower design and site survey task,” Delaney recalls. “I had no idea that it would become the first step in a decade-long journey with Helios Towers.”
The UK-based telecoms giant was then in the early stages of its expansion across Africa and required an experienced services partner. The pace of development was rapid, and before long the two companies were working together in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo. This was followed by South Africa and more recently Madagascar, Malawi, Senegal and Oman. They now serve all the major mobile network operators in these regions.
Delmec scaled in turn to support this growth and in 2015 the partnership evolved into a full-solution agreement that positioned Delmec as a strategic guide to Helios. “This means maximizing its portfolio through data collection, analysis and optimization, as well as structure strengthening, technical due diligence, post-purchase onboarding and the development of smart solutions to increase revenue and reduce cost,” explains Damien Kelly, Delmec’s Head of Engineering and Innovation.
“The Helios portfolio now encompasses 13,391 sites and 23,881 tenancies, so the first task was building an accurate portfolio of site data, including current and future potential.”
“Our industry relies on close collaboration, the agility to pivot at a moment’s notice and the ability to adapt to new technologies smoothly.”
- Kealan Delaney
For this, Delmec deployed its extensive digital capabilities. “We needed a complete picture to ensure our client was maximizing its core revenue stream – the tenants on its towers,” Kelly says. “So we worked with a combination of on-site teams, valued contractors, specialist drones, data digitization and our bespoke-built Telecoms Infrastructure Management System.”
The team’s future technical efforts will focus on automation, with machine learning driving analytics and predictive actions.
Delmec also supports Helios Towers through quality assurance, with robust governance to ensure safety, accuracy and trust across the network. “Our industry relies on close collaboration, the agility to pivot at a moment’s notice and the ability to adapt to new technologies smoothly,” Delaney points out.
“This is why we’ve always fostered a strong innovation culture in Delmec, with a dedicated Engineering and Innovation team.”
It’s that very agility that paid off in abundance in 2020 as the world began to shut down and power. “While most industries were adversely affected, telecommunications experienced a surge in demand as connectivity became crucial,” explains Orla Kane, Delmec’s Chief Commercial Officer.
“This in turn led to unprecedented growth, accelerated 5G roll-out, and an avalanche of M&A activity – particularly as investors realize the long-term value of tower company assets.”
While Delmec’s teams were no longer able to fly, its investment in innovation proved invaluable as they supplied vital remote solutions to Helios Towers and other busier-than-ever clients.
“While most industries were adversely affected, telecommunications experienced a surge in demand as connectivity became crucial.”
- Orla Kane
“We’re dedicated to staying one step ahead in every environment,” Delaney says. “That means helping our clients digitize, streamline and close connectivity gaps in both urban and rural environments, no matter how challenging the task.”
By working together, Delmec and Helios have been able to expand their offering, capture new markets, futureproof their technology and scale rapidly across multiple territories. “That’s where the Delmec and Helios Towers partnership really makes a difference,” Delaney concludes.
“Every day we work to connect our clients, our customers and our communities – wherever they are in the world.”