NYC to convert current phone booths into Wi-Fi Networks

Posted November 18, 2014 by admin

Following the lead of San Fransisco in taking control of wireless networks, New York City has announced plans to change up to 500 current payphone booths to Wi-Fi hotspots within the next 12 months. They awarded the contract to LinkNYC which is a combined company of other larger companies including Qualcomm. The contract calls for up to 500 booths by the end of 2015 and 4,000 within 4 years. The city stated the total number could be 10,000 depending on the success of the plan.

These “booths” will actually be mini-cell towers up to 10 feet tall with charging stations for smart phones and also will act as working phones offering free calls. Now, you will have to put up with some ads if you are using these “booths” but for free Wi-Fi its a fair tradeoff. This is how they can afford the $200M price tag to fund this deal. They estimate that the transaction will generate up to $500M in revenue within 12 years.

So what does this mean to the current cell site owners? Smaller cell sites are the future of the growth of data transmission. If you have a cell site that is in a good location with a high quality tenant, this could be a good news. Larger cell sites will still be needed regardless of what the big lease buyout guys that call you say. You know the “your site is going away” crowd. If you are getting “fair market” for the cell site these type of sites will have little influence on your current cell site location.

Expect more cities and municipalities to take control of their future wireless growth. At Cell Site Capital we consult with municipalities and individual cell site owners to make the best long term decisions with their wireless assets.

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