Crown Castle is seeing a strong uptick in its business from deploying small cells. Indeed, the company said small cells now make up 7 percent of the tower company's site rental revenue.
Analysts at Wall Street financial firm New Street Research said that AT&T Mobility is preparing to begin building out a network running on its WCS spectrum licenses. The firm also said that AT&T likely will ramp up its spending on its network after several months of slower spending. Further, the firm said that Sprint is likely planning to announce a new network plan when the carrier reports its first-quarter results.
Sprint is preparing to add small cells to its network to expand the reach of its LTE service, and that effort will most likely cost the carrier around $500 million per year in labor and hardware costs, according to estimates from one Wall Street analyst firm.
Startup firm M2M Spectrum Networks (a 2014 Fierce 15 winner) has launched its network in almost all the cities it intended to by year-end, but it has not yet announced any commercial customers and is still refining its business plan. The company still aims to provide a dedicated wireless network for M2M connectivity in ways that Tier 1 carriers can't or won't provide.
Verizon Communications has hired TAP Advisors LLC to look into a sale of network assets including its cell towers, according to a Reuters report.
Verizon Communications was opened up to the possibility of selling its wireless towers because of AT&T's agreement last year to sell and lease 9,700 of its cell towers to Crown Castle in a $4.85 billion deal, according to Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo. Financial analysts think that Verizon has around 12,500 to 15,000 towers and could be looking to sell a substantial portion of those.
Crown Castle CEO Ben Moreland said the tower company thinks that small cells represent a similar growth opportunity to what the industry saw with regular cell towers in the early 2000s.
ORLANDO, Fla.--AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and other carriers are likely going to bid billions of dollars for AWS-3 spectrum in an FCC auction of those airwaves later this year. And as auction winners deploy networks over their spectrum during the next few years, that's going to translate into big business for tower companies, according to a tower executive.
Startup firm M2M Spectrum Networks is aiming to launch a purpose-built M2M network using licensed spectrum later this year with the hope of stealing away M2M business from Tier 1 wireless carriers by giving vendors cheaper prices and a dedicated network for their data.
By the middle of next year most Tier 1 carriers' macro LTE buildouts are expected to be largely completed. Some carriers, such as AT&T Mobility, have indicated that the next phase of network evolution, to LTE Advanced, will be largely the result of software upgrades to existing network equipment. However, in an interview with FierceWireless, Crown Castle CEO Ben Moreland contended that despite that trend, there will still be a lot of cell site activity and amendments in the next few years.