The next wave of tower leasing, network densification, has taken root, Ben Moreland, CEO, president and director of Crown Castle International, told the company’s first quarter earnings call.
With all four major U.S. wireless carriers engaged in major network upgrades, Crown experienced a significant amount of activity in the first quarter, logging more than 75 percent of the 2013 leasing activity into its application pipeline.
Application volume by revenue in the first quarter grew at twice the pace of last year, and 60 percent of that number was from new tenants collocating on towers they were not previously on.
“This is a trend we have been anticipating for some time, as some of the carriers are nearing completion of their LTE nationwide build out,” Moreland said. “We have been expecting to see in-fill sites, or densification, as a second wave of LTE network deployment, providing us with a longer runway of expected future growth as the carriers strive to maintain network quality and reliability through cell splitting in the face of exponential growth in mobile technology demand.”
Given the location of 74 percent of Crown’s sites in the top 100 markets, the company expects to benefit from the majority of network densification through new leases. Overall, LTE deployment should be the gift that keeps on giving to the tower industry into the future, Ted Abrams, Abrams Wireless, told AGL Bulletin.
“Working with clients deploying LTE, and those responding to major carrier requests, I see strong indications that LTE deployments are only just beginning. Evidence indicates demand growth for wireless network infrastructure — assets that support and connect small cells and macros – continuing for many years to come,” Abrams said.