New Networks and Spectrum to Fuel Tower Industry Growth

By Jeff Johnston

August 2020

Key Points

  • T-Mobile’s efforts to expand rural coverage should be a tailwind for rural tower operators as it’s likely the company will use existing towers in remote parts of the country rather than building its own.
  • Shared spectrum and the cost efficiencies from network virtualization will lead wireless networks to proliferate, creating new business opportunities for tower operators.
  • The build-to-relo model is starting to show its limitations and no longer represents a meaningful competitive threat to the tower industry.
  • The T-Mobile/Sprint merger does pose risks for the tower industry, however Dish’s right to repurpose decommissioned sites and T-Mobile’s plan to expand rural coverage will help offset these risks.
  • Small cell growth is a headwind for the tower industry, but the overall impact should be small.

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