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USA Telecommunications & Antennae REITs: Sector Focus
Monday, 29 September 2014 03:31

Telecommunication Towers and Antennae: Most tele-communication towers and / or antennae are owned / leased to a relatively small number of specialist companies and / or well-capitalised publicly listed companies, (hence the lack of carrier consolidation potential outside the ‘Big4’: AT&T / T, Verizon / VZ, Sprint / S, and T-Mobile / TMUS plus American Tower / AMT, Crown Castle International / AMT, SBA Communications / SBAC, Dish Network, LightSquared, and FirstNet, who have already acquired all of the commercially useful locations, so it is almost impossible to build a new network from scratch. Furthermore, portfolio sales are few and far between and expensive, and besides, because or the inter-connected nature of networks, it is difficult for new entrants to be able to operate as effectively as ‘competitors.’ New technologies could reduce demand or even replace towers completely, but there don’t appear to be any easily identifiable substitutes to the benefits of having a physical infrastructure of towers that are able to increase / decrease signal strength and / or bandwidth as required.

 

American Tower/AMT, Crown Castle Int/CCI and SBA Comm/SBAC own roughly half of all US wireless sites, with the rest spread-out between 7k others.

 

With 4G handset penetration <10% in the US at end-2013, the potential for the increased demands required by the ‘new’ 4G technology deployment cycle remains attractive.