Argentina-based W351 planning for business footprints in India
By Rajiv Raghunath - May 26, 2023
W351 recently obtained a patent for its unique OOH solution that integrates billboards and telecom antenna in an aesthetic way, while opening up new revenue channels for media owning firms.
Cordoba-based W351, a pioneer in the integration of OOH media infrastructure and telecommunication services, is taking its patented tech solution to large format outdoor media owners worldwide with the proposition of opening up for them an additional, significant revenue opportunity.
The Argentine OOH solutions major partners billboard owning firms to install and integrate 5G cell phone antennas on their respective large format infrastructure with the company’s patented permeable solutions that are secure and not visible to the audiences on the streets.
W351 maintains that the patented technological solutions for permeability in advertising structures bring about a perfect synergy of OOH business and telecommunications. “It is 100% compatible, viable and sustainable,” says Enrique Umbert, Founder, W351.
W351 has envisioned this solution to fuse with smart city projects across geographies. The company’s leadership asserts that the mission is to partner with the OOH forms in adding value to the communities where we invest and take care of the environment”.
To ensure that the telecom antennas are installed in an aesthetic way, W351 has come up with a patented solution by which the billboard is fabricated in a manner that the telecom antennas are hidden behind the facia, and the permeability of the telecom signal ensures seamless connectivity to the consumers.
What’s more, each billboard structure can accommodate antennas of up to three telecom operators.
How does this work out? Once a billboard owning firm enters into an agreement with W351, the solutions firm will facilitate a direct contract between the OOH firm and the telecom company whereby the telecom firm agrees to make annual payments to OOH the OOH firm. The telecom company will undertake the electrical work required for the antenna installation and operation and also pay the OOH firm for the services that include:
- Royalties for the patents
- Engineering Service
- Development of the markets
- Management and administration of the project.
W351 on its part undertakes:
- Development of the markets
- Management and administration of the adequation
- Provision of the patented solutions at no extra cost
- Knowhow (pre-feasibility, pre-engineering, engineering, calculations)
- Development of the product
- Logistics (sending the permeable supplies).
- Development of the network.
W351 works with the tower installation companies that in turn work with the mobile service providers. Enrique points out that partnering the billboard owning firms is also advantageous to the mobile service providers who find it easier to locate new sites for installing the antennas.
The parent company of W351, an outdoor advertising company that has been in existence for over 50 years, developed this OOH - telecom solution sometime in 2014-15 and approached Telecom Argentina and other mobile services providers who responded favourably to the proposition.
OOH companies that adopted the solution also altered their billboard fabrication by using material that is permeable to the electromagnetic wave. “Last year, all these companies renewed the contacts for another 10 years which is when we realised that we have a much bigger opportunity ahead of us” says Enrique.
In parallel, W351 applied for the patent for its solution and in a short timeframe it got accepted in the US, which was a significant achievement for the company, says Enrique.
Talking about the suitability of media sites for the telecom antenna installation, Enrique said that W351 would recommend the media owners to refabricate the structures where required in order for the antenna installation to be executed seamlessly and in line with the specifications.
“In our case, we have put up billboards at locations where a telecom service provider needed an antenna to be put up,” says Enrique.
Media owners that get into agreements with mobile service providers for putting up antennas would be entering into long-term deals that span some 10 years, which adds significant value to the OOH business, apart from the revenues that come in.
W351 has entered into agreements with several media owning firms in India, the company informs. “Looking ahead, we want to build the biggest network that we can,” says Enrique, while adding that “as we onboard a large number of media owners and have the data on thousands of media assets, we will be able to engage with mobile service providers in India more effectively”.
That will also get the mobile service providers to also suggest their preferences for locations, that in turn can be passed on to the media owners, he says.
When asked about the upfront investments that a media owner needs to make in order to get a contract with the telecom company, Enrique explains that in the initial stage, the media owning firm is only required to provide the location details backed with a reliable permit obtained from the concerned authority. Only after the telecom service provider accepts the proposal that the media owning firm will be called upon to undertake modifications of the billboard structure in order for the antenna to be installed in a concealed manner. “That modification will be required only when the media owner is assured of a long-term deal with the telecom company,” he says.