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14 November 2017, 07:54 | Hattie Nash
U.S. carriers are increasingly looking to cut tower spending
The nation's two top mobile carriers say they will be teaming up with phone mast builders Tillman Infrastructure to put up a network of hundreds of towers around the USA with the aim of using them to hold both cellular voice and wireless broadband equipment.
Under the agreement, Tillman will build co-located towers to suit Verizon and AT&T, who will lease and co-anchor the sites.
The U.S. cell tower market is now dominated by three companies: American Tower Corp, SBA Communications Corp, and Crown Castle International Corp. The structures will be built at locations where there are no cell towers at present, allowing the carriers to move some equipment off of existing towers and on to the new ones once they are built. Assuming all goes well, there could be "significantly more" cell sites in the future following this first batch to help both companies expand networks to locations where they may not now have towers.
Tillman Infrastructure plans to start building out the first set of towers in Q1 of 2018. Instead of American Tower, Crown Castle, or SBA Communications, the top three cell tower companies in the USA, the two carriers are teaming up with a relatively small and unknown firm.
These new structures will add to the overall communications infrastructure in the U.S., and will fulfil the need for new locations where towers do not exist today.
It's perhaps worth noting that Tillman Infrastructure is rather an unconventional choice when it comes to cell tower companies. Verizon's Chief Network Officer Nicola Palmer said in a statement that Big Red is looking to "develop new vendor partners to diversify our infrastructure providers".
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