Data, Cell Towers and Spectrum NewsPosted September 17, 2014 by admin
94% of all carriers belong to the Big 4 wireless carriers. What this means for the cell tower lease holders very relevant. If you have a tower that just has”regional carrier” like, C Spire, nTelos, Revol or US Cellular amongst others, the value of that lease and site are a lower grade than if it had AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless, Sprint or T-Mobile. Think if it the same way you would at renting space to McDonalds versus a local Pizza shop. The chances of McDonalds paying it’s rent and being there for a longer period of time are much greater.
Cost and spectrum needs are driving the smaller carriers out of the large markets like Chicago. This will lead to a greater focus in urban areas for the Big 4 carriers and leave some opportunity for the “regional carriers” to gain market share in the rural and less dense markets.
The AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless are buying spectrum not customers anymore. They are trying to deliver content to its current customer base first. This means being able to move data quickly and a bunch of it. Look for them to bid high on the new spectrum auction next year. This will mean more upgraded to the current towers which could be a good thing for the cell tower lease holders.
Data is driving the densification at a pace no one expected. Cell Site Capital has had 10 upgrades inquires to our cell sites over the past 7 days.
The new iPhone6 that has voice over LTE (VoLTE) will stress the carrier networks and lead to more investment in the networks. Love or hate Apple and iPhones but they have changed the way we move data. The first iPhone was a Blackberry killer and made information on the go more important than just making calls on a cell phone. Look for the VoLTE, which basically moves the voice traffic through cell towers that are currently on 3G to the 4G band. This will increase the traffic load on cell tower and roof top cell sites but the bonus is call quality should improve even more.
WiFi will mean smaller footprints and will need for the signal to be closer to the customers leading to more small cell development. Yes, so much data is being moved through networks that even some WiFi spots are becoming overloaded. Expect more capital to be spent to increase the load of the small WiFi networks as well.