Monday, December 30, 2013

What Should Telecommunicators Know About Spectrum?

If you are part of the telecommunications industry, it’s likely that you’ve heard the word “spectrum” a few times, especially lately; but what do you need to know about spectrum? “It’s a finite and valuable resource, all spectrum holders must use their bands for the best and highest purposes,” according to the CTIA. When it comes to towers, they are needed to enhance coverage, increase capacity, decrease network load, and enhance spectral efficiency. This is why expedient tower siting is necessary. The FCC has been working to improve spectrum efficiency by: allocating more public safety frequency bands, increasing available communication channels within limited spectrum bands, improving spectrum management processes to enhance efficiency, and promoting technology advancement, such as software-defined radio and cognitive radio. (Source: Understanding the Basics: What Telecommunicators Need to Know About Spectrum” by Christine Phelps.)
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Friday, December 27, 2013

AT&T Speaks Out About Government Surveillance Position

Along with Verizon, AT&T will be publishing a semi-annual online report that will provide information on the number of law enforcement requests for customer information. The company expects to publish the first report, covering information received in 2013, in early 2014. “The debate about government surveillance programs and striking the right balance between protecting personal privacy and providing national security is a healthy one. It’s important that policymakers worldwide get it right so that people can continue to enjoy the benefits of technology and communications with confidence,” said Wayne Watts, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel. 
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Stealth Towers Can Be Aesthetically Pleasing and Environmentally Friendly

One of the major complaints about cell towers is their appearance and one of the minor complaints of cell towers is the effect they have on the environment. However, towers that are disguised as other structures can eliminate both of these problems. According to STEALTH, a tower concealment company, “Recently, STEALTH completed two projects on Kiawah Island with Osprey nests, or birds of prey, platforms. The monopole concealments were designed to match the wooden appearance of the original poles.When designing the concealments, Kiawah, being a naturalistic island located on the coast of South Carolina, wanted to provide endangered birds, especially Osprey, a place to build a safe nest. 

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Dish Considers Making a Bid for T-Mobile

Just when industry professionals thought Sprint and Dish were getting along due to their agreement to work together to test a fixed wireless broadband service in Corpus Christi, Texas, news broke that Dish may be putting in a competing offer against Sprint to purchase T-Mobile. This will be the satellite TV provider’s second attempt in two years at acquiring a major wireless operator. 
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Technology Analyst Jeff Kagan Weighs in on Sprint T-Mobile Merger Possibility

The possibility of Sprint and T-Mobile merging raises a lot of questions from the major tower companies to the tower technicians; everyone is wondering how this might affect them. “If Sprint does acquire T-Mobile, it would transform them into a larger and stronger number three competitor to both AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, virtually overnight,” says Tech analyst Jeff Kagan. “Whether the US Government would allow it is the question.” Because AT&T Mobility tried to acquire T-Mobile two years ago and the government said “no” in order to keep four competitors in the industry, many believe that this will be the outcome of Sprint seeking to acquire T-Mobile. 
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How Would A Sprint/T-Mobile Merger Affect Professionals in the Industry?

After the announcement that Sprint was considering making a bid for T-Mobile, Crown Castle International and American Tower Corporation released statements regarding this potential merger and many people are wondering how this change with affect them. The Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint may place a bid within the next six months to acquire T-Mobile for more than $20 billion. With Sprint and T-Mobile sharing spots on many of the same towers, the tower companies are worried about what this will do to business. American Tower released on Monday that after the quarter ended September 30, 2013 Sprint and T-Mobile accounted for 16% and 10% of the company’s operating revenue. American Tower currently has separate leases for antenna space with Sprint and T-Mobile on the same site at approximately 5,500 communications sites. Crown Castle announced that Sprint and T-Mobile represented approximately 23% and 22%, respectively, of CCI’s consolidated site rental revenues. Crown Castle also owns about 8,000 towers on which both carriers reside, with approximately six years of current term remaining on all lease agreements with Sprint and eight years left on all lease agreements with T-Mobile. 
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why Are Officials Using Fake Cell Towers to Access Information?

After the Supreme Court made the decision that federal investigators and other law enforcement agencies were no longer allowed to use information from GPS tracking without a warrant, officials found another way to keep an eye on potential criminals. They did this by using a device that mimics the technology of a cell tower. Clarence Walker of Global Research explained that, “The new surveillance technology is the StingRay (also marketed as Triggerfish, IMSI Catcher, Cell-site Simulator or Digital Analyzer), a sophisticated, portable spy device able to track cell phone signals inside vehicles, homes and insulated buildings. StingRay trackers act as fake cell towers, allowing police investigators to pinpoint location of a targeted wireless mobile by sucking up phone data such as text messages, emails and cell-site information.”

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Is Sprint Working on a Bid for T-Mobile?

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Sprint Corporation is working toward a possible bid for T-Mobile US Inc. If these two giant telecoms merged there would be three major carriers in the wireless game, reducing competition and dominating the industry. “Sprint is studying regulatory concerns and could launch a bid in the first half of next year, the people said. A deal could be worth more than $20 billion, depending on the size of any stake in T-Mobile that Sprint tries to buy. A bid would cap a period of extraordinary consolidation in the U.S. wireless market, coming just months after SoftBank Corp. acquired Sprint and T-Mobile merged with MetroPCS Communications Inc.,” The Wall Street Journal explained. 
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Friday, December 13, 2013

A Strong Wireless Infrastructure is Imperative to Public Safety

With the major mobile carriers updating their 4G LTE equipment and constructing new towers to fill in gaps, people may believe that because cell service is improving then other problems will be solved as well. The FCC has been issuing reports about how location data from 911 calls isn’t being translated to the emergency responders, and delaying their response time. Alcatel-Lucent, French global telecommunications equipment company, discussed the necessity to build a strong public wireless infrastructure in LifeTalk: Public Safety Communications E-Zine. In this article, Bill Schrier, Chief Technology Officer for the City of Seattle, explained why we are unable to use the system that already in place by the major carriers. “The most common question — especially from cash-strapped legislators and city counselors — is, ‘Why can’t we just use the commercial carrier services? They’ve got 3G wireless service offerings with data capabilities. They’ve got 4G wireless offering with significantly more data capabilities. They’ve got these technologies. Why don’t we just use those commercial services? That’s what we do now for nonmission critical applications!’ The answer, of course is that you don’t want to have mission-critical public safety data communications competing with every teenager’s ‘LOL’ message to their friends,” Schrier explains. Instead of solely relying on the commercial services already in place, there should be a plan to keep the lines of communication open should some disaster take place. However, budgets are being cut and the commercial networks aren’t able to handle the influx of users.
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

What Data Do Authorities See When Conducting Cell Tower Dumps?

Cell tower data dumps have been all over the news these past few days—made a topic of conversation during the investigation of 10-year old Jessica Ridgeway’s murder. Jenna Lee of Fox News spoke to David Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSec, about what the government sees when they take the data received from a cell tower. “They would see everything you did on your phone in those local cell tower areas. They would see everybody you called during those specific times, possible SMS data or your text messages, and GPS locations. All of those can be triangulated and grabbed from those cell towers in a tower dump,” Kennedy said.While not too many people disagreed with the way authorities used this data in the investigation of Jessica Ridgeway’s murder since it led to her killer in a roundabout way, many people are wondering what else this data is being used for. “All of this is being done without a warrant, which means they can go out and pull as much information as they want to with little rhyme or reason to why they need to do it and I think that’s the major concern,” Kennedy explains. When it comes to finding a missing child or locating a criminal, dumping cell towers doesn’t seem too extreme but Kennedy does point out that there should be major oversight on what this data is being used for and who is using it before they can have access to it.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Will Small Tower Companies Survive the Future?

American Tower Corporation, Crown Castle International, and SBA Communications are acquiring tower sites right and left, begging the question, “will all the towers be owned by these companies in the future?” Small tower companies who own a handful of sites may be approached by these larger companies looking to purchase their towers, but will they be put completely out of business? Not according to Gary Hess, co-founder of American Tower Corporation and current Director of Vertical Real Estate at Clear Channel. “I don’t think that party [small tower companies] will ever be over because there are always locations that still need better service or more channels,” Gary said.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What Does the Future of the Tall Tower Industry Look Like to a Seasoned Professional?

Gary Hess, co-founder of American Tower Corporation and current Director of Vertical Real Estate at Clear Channel, took the time to talk to us about where he sees the tall tower industry going. There is always the question of whether or not towers will be replaced by a smaller technology. “When American Tower was being put together. Steve Dodge and I would meet with the lenders and the questions were always so predictable. ‘Are satellites going to put towers out of business?’ ‘Why do we need towers in the future, because isn’t everything going to be running off of satellites?’” Gary explained. “I’m starting to sense that the real tall tower days are behind us. I’ve witnessed this because the big manufacturing companies have folded their tents.”
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Gary Hess and American Tower Corporation: “It Started With Just One Tower”

Before the three major tower companies began consolidating the industry, there was just one man on a mission trying to save a radio station, Gary Hess. Gary believed in the success of the tower industry before it even existed and, as a result, he became a co-founder for one of the top three wireless tower companies in the United States: American Tower Corporation. The “aha” moment came to him while working at SJR Communications trying to take FM radio stations, improve them, and make them market competitive. However, this wasn’t easy. Broadcasters did not want to lease space to their competitors. “Back then you didn’t have a lot to work with other than the television towers in the same market. I got turned down left and right. It became quite a problem, and then the light bulb went off realizing that I’m not the only one doing this and everyone else is getting the same rejection. They had little or no interest in leasing their towers.” The TV market was booming during this time and Gary saw an opportunity and had the chance to test his theory when the company bought a Dallas FM from the legendary broadcaster, Gordon Mclendon.
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Friday, December 6, 2013

Why are U.S. Tower Companies Moving into Brazil?

With the announcement that SBA Communications would be acquiring 2,007 telecom towers in Brazil, you may be wondering what’s so attractive about the Brazil market. This acquisition will give SBA ownership or control over more than 5,000 towers in Brazil. American Tower acquired 4,500 towers in Brazil in August 2013. Well according to Reuters, the American companies are focusing on acquiring assets in Brazil for the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games that will be held there. SBA said on Wednesday it expected the new towers to contribute about 110 million reais of cash leasing revenue and $70 million reais of tower cash flow to its results during 2014. Wireless carriers in Brazil have been making sale-leaseback agreements on their towers to help pay down debts and boost results in the face of an economic slowdown. (Source: Reuters)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

SBA Communications Expands in Brazil after Acquiring 2,007 Additional Sites

Yesterday, SBA Communications announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement with certain subsidiaries of Oi SA, which is one of Brazil’s largest telecommunications service providers. SBA will acquire 2,007 tower sites in Brazil and once the transaction is complete, Oi will enter into a long-term lease agreement with SBA with monthly lease payments for antenna space on each of these sites. The transaction is expected to close on or before March 31, 2014 and SBA will pay approximately R$1.525 billion, which is around USD $645 million at the current exchange rate. “We are very pleased to acquire these high quality assets and expand our relationship with Oi,” commented Jeffrey A. Stoops, SBA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “These are very good sites, concentrated in the most populous areas of Brazil, with demonstrated attractiveness to tenants. With this acquisition, we will have established SBA as one of the largest and most capable independent tower operators in Brazil, a market which we believe is very attractive and will produce strong growth in the future.”


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Alcatel-Lucent Launches Program to Remove Challenges of Site Acquisition and Backhaul for Metro Cell Deployments

Yesterday, Alcatel-Lucent launched a new initiative, the Metro Cell Express Site Certification Program, to remove the challenges associated with site acquisition and backhaul for metro cell deployments. Small cells have become a topic of conversation in the telecommunications industry, especially now that the mobile carriers are deploying small cells to expand their 4G LTE coverage in densely populated areas. Alcatel-Lucent believes that small and metro cells are essential to mobile operators who are working to address the demand on network capacity. Michael J. Schabel, Vice President of Small Cells at Alcatel-Lucent said, “Wireless operators have embraced small cells as an essential part of their ultra-broadband wireless network, but they must adapt to the new challenges associated with building, operating, and maintaining these new small cell networks. In order to accelerate and simplify the deployment of small cell networks, we have solicited the help from companies who have assets to contribute to the solution. While no company alone can address the 4P’s necessary for small cell deployment –people, power, poles and ports — the group working together creates tens of thousands of qualified and available small cell sites, and we will further add to that by continuing to add members to this program.”


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Will American Tower Purchase More Towers in Brazil?

Bloomberg reported that Telecom Italia is working with Morgan Stanley to find potential bidders for their 7,000 towers located in Brazil. One of the potential bidders is American Tower Corporation, according to people familiar with the matter. The Brazilian assets could raise about 700 million Euros ($951 million), one of the people said. (Source: Bloomberg). In 2000, American Tower entered the Brazil market with more than 4,500 towers. In August 2013, American Tower announced they were acquiring an additional 2,790 tower sites from NII Holdings in Brazil for $413 million. Officials at American Tower Corporation declined to comment on their potential interest in these sites; however, it’s a market they are already participating in so it might be a good move for the company looking to expand their international reach.


Monday, December 2, 2013

How Can I Make More Money from my Cell Tower?

If you’re a tower owner looking to make extra revenue on your investment, look for opportunities to add tenants. Call the major wireless carriers and even the local ones and see if they’d be interested in renting space. Since the beginning of the 4G LTE deployment many of the carriers are looking for more towers. Updating the existing equipment isn’t 100% successful if there are gaps in the network coverage. This is why the 4G LTE expansion has caused the tower industry to grow quickly and investors are starting to take notice. The analysts at Seeking Alpha explain that, “Currently, AT&T and VZ are in the ‘densification’, or ‘cell-splitting’, portion of their upgrade cycle. The densification of 4G LTE requires carriers to place sites on new towers to ‘infill’ weak areas of the network. New leases result in higher revenue for the tower owners when compared to ‘amendments’, which occur on towers that already support a carrier’s equipment. Such amendments can create varying amounts of revenue based on the lease contract, but they are, in general, beneficial to tower owners as the carriers must leave on the previous technology equipment until all devices using that technology are out of circulation.”

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Crown Castle International Payroll Records Hacked

It is always worrisome when your personal information is in the hands of someone else. This is what the employees at Crown Castle are experiencing after someone hacked into the company’s payroll account. eSecurity Planet reported that, “On October 31, 2013, the company determined that an unknown person or persons bypassed Crown Castle’s security system and accessed an e-mail containing an attached payroll file that listed U.S. employee names, Social Security numbers and compensation” Crown Castle CEO W. Benjamin Moreland reassured employees that the company has taken very aggressive steps to address this matter and they are conducting a comprehensive internal investigation of the theft.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

13th Tower Technician Fatality in 2013 Occurred This Weekend

After troubleshooting a carrier’s equipment failure on an SBA Communications tower, Douglas Klein began making his descent down a 340-foot tower in Wichita, Kansas when he fell. The 27-year old tower technician died Sunday, November 24th as a result of injuries he received on Saturday. An employee at the cell site called 9-1-1 around 5:15 on Saturday saying the man had fallen approximately 60 feet. Wireless Estimator reported that, “According to workers familiar with the accident, the crew was working for Ericsson on a Sprint Network Vision project maintenance call. It is not known if Klein’s equipment failed or if he disconnected to get past an intermediate cable guide, but a co-worker said that he was attached to the safety climb during his initial descent.” Klein is the 13th tower technician fatality in 2013, which is the highest number of fatalities that have occurred in this industry since 2006 when there were 19 fatalities. Many of the wireless carriers are working as quickly as possible to deploy their new 4G LTE equipment, which puts pressure on tower workers to complete their jobs in a timely manner. This hurriedness can often lead to missed safety precautions and even workers taking the chance of free climbing. Free climbing is when a person who is climbing a tower isn’t connected to a fall arrest system.


Monday, November 25, 2013

AT&T Enhances Mobile Network in the Swamp

When the stadium at the University of Florida in Gainesville was packed with students and fans alike, it used to be difficult to share those exciting Gator moments with friends and family. This is why AT&T has installed new 4G LTE Distributed Antenna Systems and cell sites to provide additional wireless coverage on campus and in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. “When our customers head out to the stadium to cheer on the home team, we want them to have a great network experience throughout the game no matter what they’re doing – whether that’s making a call, checking email, downloading apps or surfing the Internet,” said AT&T Florida President Marshall Criser, lll.  “With initiatives like Project VIP, we’re continuing to invest in the wireless network, and providing enhanced wireless coverage at the University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and elsewhere on campus are just a couple ways that we’re investing in Gainesville.”


Friday, November 22, 2013

Tower Industry in Africa Expected to Double: Will US Companies Take Part?

In 2011, American Tower Corporation entered the South African tower market where they now own 1,621 towers. Chief Operating Officer of Helios Towers Africa, Kevin Koch, spoke at AfricaCom2013 in Cape Town last week and presented an optimistic outlook for the tower industry. According to Richard Cutcher of HumanIPO, “According to HTA figures, there are currently 150,000 towers in Africa of which only 15 per cent are owned by third-party companies such as HTA, Eaton Towers, ATC and IHS. Due to Africa’s rapidly rising and young population, Koch expects the total number of towers to double within five years, while the proportion of those owned by independent companies will double in one year.” American Tower Corporation focuses mainly on the North American tower industry, but is also expanding their international footprint. This may be the perfect time for them to grow their presence in the African region. HumanIPO reported earlier today Bharti Airtel is believed be in discussions over the sale of its 15,000 towers to a third party for US $1.8 billion, while Etisalat Nigeria is also thought to be in discussions over a US $400 million sell-off of its 2,500 towers.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wireless Industry Leaders Launch Warriors 4 Wireless

Yesterday, a handful of companies in the wireless industry announced their commitment to recruiting, training, certifying and finding jobs for 5,000 veterans over the next three years through a new nonprofit organization entitled Warriors 4 Wireless (W4W). DYNIS, PCIA (the Wireless Infrastructure Association), Competitive Carriers Association, T-Mobile, MasTec, PricewaterhouseCoopers are the companies committed to launching this non-profit organization. Warriors 4 Wireless was formed to bridge the gap between the demand for trained and deployable wireless technicians and the thousands of qualified servicemen and women eager to transfer the skills they learned in the military to civilian careers. “DYNIS created W4W as a way to give back to our military veterans and revolutionize the wireless industry,” Earl Scott, CEO of DYNIS and Co-Founder of W4W said. “We are thrilled that the program has grown into an industry-wide effort, independent of us, supporting thousands of veterans as they make the transition from military to civilian careers.”


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Emergency Responders Urge FCC to Establish Level of Location Accuracy for 9-1-1 Calls

Outside the FCC workshop on e911 location accuracy in Washington, DC members of law enforcement, public safety, and emergency response units gathered to display a banner urging the FCC to establish a measurable level of location accuracy for wireless emergency calls. Because there is no exact location assigned to your cell phone, the only way to determine where you are is by using nearby cell towers to pinpoint your whereabouts; however, this takes some time that these organizations don’t always have. Data recently released by the FCC shows that, in some states and localities, upwards of 2/3 of wireless 9-1-1 calls are delivered to the emergency call center without accurate location data, leaving emergency responders unable to send help to people who cannot tell or do not know their locations.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

AT&T Upgrades Network at Broncos Stadium with Largest Cell Site

We all know what it’s like to be at a game or a concert and want to post a picture to your social media sites and just not being able to connect to the network. This was often the case for AT&T customers who frequented the Bronco’s stadium in Denver, Colorado. AT&T set out to rectify this problem and put almost $10 million into a network upgrade at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. They added the equivalent of 11 cell towers, all dedicated to serving AT&T customers at the Bronco’s stadium. The network equipment is housed in a nondescript building adjacent to the stadium that now serves as AT&T’s largest cell site in the Rocky Mountain region. In August, Russ Trainor, the Vice President of Information Technology, shared that, “I think from where we’re at now we’re at a good point in technology-wise compared to other venues. And we’re still driving, we’re still adding.”


Monday, November 4, 2013

State Funding Needed To Sustain Nebraska Telecom Services

Rural Nebraska has lost some of its federal funding and is in need of state funding in order to continue high-quality broadband services. In cities, there are more people to use and pay for the cell service, making it worthwhile for companies to spend money on their wireless infrastructure. However, rural areas don’t follow the same rules. Rural areas are becoming harder for carriers to cover because it’s getting more expensive to build in those areas. The cell signal has to reach greater areas and there are fewer customers paying for the service. 
The small carriers are at risk because of new regulations that will reduce the federal payments for cable, fiber optic and DSL connections in remote areas, said Michael Balhoff, a Maryland-based telecommunications consultant. (Source: Grant Schulte of the Associated Press)
In order for small carriers to grow without risk, they will need state support and state funding. Without it, the carriers will be unable to provide service in some rural areas because the cost will be too high and the reward too low. This may turn rural areas into an economic wasteland. Without telecommunications services, business won’t be able to run as successfully and profits will decline.
Without the funding, consumers in rural areas would likely see a lower-quality or higher-cost service or possibly none at all, said Cheryl Parrino, a consultant who testified for Nebraska Rural Independent Companies, a trade group. Parrino said fiscal uncertainty and limited funding at the federal level will require Nebraska to play a larger role in keeping the system funded.  (Source: Associated Press)
“In many very-high-cost areas, a business case cannot be made to deliver those services,” Parrino said. “Revenues from customers are simply not enough to cover the cost of deploying, investing and maintaining those operating services.”
Nebraska’s universal service fund distributed $86 million to the state in 2012 but was on track to disperse less than $80 million this year. Nebraska ranks 25th among states in the funding it receives despite its large geographic area and rural population.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

KKR Invests in Wireless Telecom Infrastructure Business

Global investment firm, KKR, announced that they will be investing in the wireless infrastructure businesses managed by Associated Partners, L.P. KKR has made investments in PEG Bandwidth, AP Wireless, and AP Towers. 

"The need for wireless infrastructure will continue to be driven by increases in wireless data usage that is overwhelming existing network capacity," said Raj Agrawal, KKR's Head of North American Infrastructure. "We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Associated Partners to grow this premier set of businesses with critical telecom infrastructure assets." 

The demand for wireless is only increasing, which is driving substantial investments in the wireless infrastructure business. PEG Bandwidth designs, builds and operates Ethernet backhaul networks connecting wireless communications towers to the data fiber backbone, principally in rural geographies. AP Wireless acquires interests in cell site ground and rooftop leases in the U.S. and internationally. AP Towers develops new wireless telecom towers and purchases towers that are currently operating. 

"As the shale revolution is driving the growth of natural gas pipelines to transport molecules, the advent of the smart phone is driving a similar wireless explosion to transmit electrons. Wireless communication networks are an essential component of the nation's infrastructure," said Scott Bruce, Managing Director of Associated Partners, L.P. "We are excited to have KKR partner with us as we expand our businesses." 

This transaction represents KKR's eleventh infrastructure investment overall and fifth in North America since 2010.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

FCC Strives to Build a More Resilient Communications Network

Marking the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, FCC Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau David Turetsky, shared how the FCC is working towards building a more resilient communications network. Approximately 25% of the cell sites weren’t working during Hurricane Sandy and the FCC’s eyes were opened to the importance of having a reliable network.
“The Commission recently proposed rules that would require wireless service providers to publicly disclose the percentage of cell sites within their networks that are operational during and immediately after disasters. The concept is simple: by providing consumers with a yardstick for comparing wireless performance in emergencies, this proposal could empower consumers and in turn create competitive incentives in the wireless industry to improve network reliability,” Turetsky explains. He also noted that the FCC is seeking public comment on this approach.
The reasoning behind this proposed rule is to improve the reliability of the networks that are used to originate most 911 calls. Many people are disconnecting their landlines and switching their phone service to their mobile provider, making it difficult for emergency service providers to locate callers as quickly as they could before.
“Also this year, the Commission proposed measures to improve the reliability of the wireline facilities that are needed to complete 911 calls, especially during disasters. More specifically, the Commission proposed rules to ensure that the wireline network providers that route calls to 911 call centers implement vital best practices in network design, maintenance, and operation,” Turetsky said.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Crown Castle Says AT&T Transaction Is All About Growth

Wi-Fi Tower To Be Completed Soon Bringing California Schools Internet Access

SBA Posts Weekly Stock Summary

Douglas County Turns Down AMT’s 20K Bonus For Cell Tower Lease Extension

Trade-Ideas LLC Identifies SBA Communications as a New Lifetime High Candidate

Crown Castle Had A Very Busy Weekend

Crown Castle Announces $4.65 Billion AT&T Tower Transaction

Friday, October 18, 2013

Crown Castle International Posts Weekly Stock Summary

Wisconsin Gets New 4G Cell Phone Tower in Oak Creek

What Makes Property Suitable for Cell Towers?

Nokia Solutions and Networks Introduces Small Cell Solutions with Macro Base Station Capacity

Analysts Release Stock Ratings for Verizon Communications, U.S. Cellular Corporation, and T-Mobile US

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Small Cell Backhaul Equipment Market is Expected to Reach $5B in 2018

Easing Laws Regarding Cell Tower Construction Will Bring Many Benefits

The Miami Dolphins Team Up With AT&T to Enhance Mobile Experience at Sun Life Stadium 

Jim Cramer Has A Few Things to Say About American Tower Corporation

Cable Failure Leaves 25 Cell Tower Sites Out in Alabama

Florida Cell Tower Battle Lands in Federal Court

 Vertical Assets, a communications tower construction company based in Atlanta, was denied a permit to construct a cell tower in Panama City, Florida. The 150-foot tower was planned to be erected on West 19th Street and Florida Avenue. However, the Panama City commission unanimously rejected the proposal for the tower saying that there were safety and neighborhood compatibility issues.

Vertical Assets has taken this matter to the federal court because they believe the city discriminated against their proposal and they violated the federal Telecommunications Act. Another company was permitted to construct a similar tower three years ago without having to get the city commission to approve it. Vertical Assets’ tower would have AT&T as its main carrier but they would allow emergency agencies to use the tower at no cost. 

Verizon Releases 2013 3Q Earnings

This morning, Verizon released their 3Q earnings that illustrated growth and continued strong operating performance this quarter. The company reported year-over-year double-digit percentage growth in operating income and earnings per share for the third consecutive quarter. Third-quarter 2013 results showed continued high customer demand for Verizon Wireless, FiOS and strategic enterprise services. Take a look at the highlights regarding Verizon’s wireless sector:
  • 8.4 percent year-over-year increase in service revenues in 3Q 2013; 8.0 percent increase in retail service revenues; 33.8 percent operating income margin and 51.1 percent segment EBITDA margin on service revenues (non-GAAP).
  • Added 1.1 million net retail connections, including 927,000 net retail postpaid connections; low retail postpaid churn of 0.97 percent; 101.2 million total retail connections, 95.2 million total retail postpaid connections.
  • 4G LTE service now available to more than 303 million people in more than 500 markets across the United States.

Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO, said: "These strong third-quarter results reflect Verizon's long-term investment in reliable, high-quality networks to deliver value to customers. Our unwavering focus on wireless, FiOS and strategic enterprise services has produced consistent performance, and we've delivered double-digit earnings growth in six of the past seven quarters. Verizon's strategic networks form a powerful distribution platform for future growth and innovation."

Verizon reported $0.78 earnings per share in the third quarter compared to the $0.56 EPS they reported in the third quarter of 2012. Third-quarter 2013 results include a non-operational gain of
 2 cents per share related to the sale of wireless spectrum, partially offset by 1 cent per share in incremental interest expense related to the financing of Verizon's planned purchase of Vodafone Group PLC's 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless.

CTIA—The Wireless Association Announces 2014 Board of Directors

This week, CTIA—The Wireless Association hosted MobileCON 2013 in San Jose, California. MobileCON is a mobile IT and enterprise event designed for the IT executives and professionals. During this event, the CTIA announced their 2014 Board of Directors.

"CTIA's members provide U.S. consumers with the world's best wireless service and consistently make significant investments in the U.S. economy. Among the 2014 Board of Directors' goals is to make certain the U.S. wireless industry remains the world's leader in innovation so that Americans continue to benefit from wireless telecommunications. One of the key components to this is making sure more spectrum is made available for commercial wireless use. By working together and with the expert guidance of our board, CTIA will work diligently to ensure appropriate public policy that recognizes the need for the U.S. wireless industry to remain the best in the world," said Steve Largent, President and CEO, CTIA.
The one-year term as board members of the CTIA will begin on January 1, 2014. The Board of Directors will be comprised of:
• Robert Vrij, Executive Vice President and Chief of Global Sales, Alcatel-Lucent
• Charles Townsend, President and CEO, Aloha Partners II, L.P.
• Dr. Guy (Bud) Tribble, Senior Vice President for Software Engineering, Apple, Inc.
• Manny Becerra, Executive Vice President & President of Mobile Services, Assurant Solutions
• Bret Comolli, Chairman, Asurion
• Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO, AT&T Mobility, AT&T
• Thorsten Heins, President and CEO, BlackBerry Limited
• Ron Smith, President, Bluegrass Cellular, Inc.
• Marcelo Claure, Chairman and CEO, Brightstar Corporation
• Slayton Stewart, CEO, Carolina West Wireless
• Wirt Yerger, III, Manager, Cavalier Wireless, LLC
• Pat Riordan, President and CEO, Cellcom
• Steve Largent, President and CEO, CTIA-The Wireless Association
• Jay Shedd, President and CEO, DOCOMO PACIFIC, INC.
• Angel Ruiz, President and CEO, Ericsson Inc.
• Mary Chan, President, Global Connected Consumer, General Motors
• Mike Woodward, President, Emerging Devices, HTC America, Inc.
• S. Douglas Hutcheson, CEO and Director, Leap Wireless International, Inc.
• Jeff Gisoo Cho, Vice President, LG Electronics USA
• Rip Gerber, President and CEO, Locaid
• Eddie O'Brien, VP, Worldwide Sales and Marketing Operator Channel, Microsoft Corporation
• Jeff Miller, Corporate Vice President, Global Sales, Motorola Mobility
• Matt Rothschild, VP Sales and Marketing, Americas, Nokia, Inc.
• James Hyde, President and CEO, nTelos Wireless
• John Giere, President and CEO, Openwave Mobility
• George Appling, President and CEO, Personal Communications Devices, LLC (PCD)
• Richard Ruhl, General Manager, Pioneer Cellular
• Peggy Johnson, EVP and President of Global Market Development, QUALCOMM, Inc.
• Mike Narula, President and CEO, Reliance Communications LLC
• Gregory Lee, President and CEO, Samsung Telecommunications America, L.P.
• John Sims, President, SAP Mobile Services
• Justin E. Hinkle, Chief Operating Officer, Smith Bagley, Inc. DBA CellularOne of N.E. AZ
• Dan Hesse, CEO, Sprint Corporation
• Jeff Gordon, President and CEO, Syniverse
• John Legere, President and CEO, T-Mobile USA
• F.J. Pollak, President and CEO, TracFone Wireless, Inc.
• Kenneth Meyers, President and CEO, U.S. Cellular
• Dan Mead, President and CEO, Verizon Wireless

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

LBA Group, Inc. Celebrates Its Golden Anniversary

LBA Group, Inc., who provides RF consulting and program management services to a wide variety of clients, is celebrating their 50 year anniversary as a global provider of Radio Frequency asset solutions. The LBA Group began as Lawrence Behr Associates back in 1963 and has been based out of Greenville, North Carolina ever since. When LBA Group, Inc. first began they focused on providing consulting services in the radio/TV spectrum business along with consulting on other RF issues.

“Today the focus more and more is on how we live with RF devices that are increasingly surrounding us, so that’s why we are putting our emphasis in this area of RF risk management,” added Behr. Since the company began, LBA has added LBA Technology, Inc., the manufacturing unit of the company and most recently LBA University, Inc., providing online and on-site safety training.

 Earlier this year, the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce honored Behr with the Small Business Leader of the Year Award. “LBA also plans to continue growing and improving its expert consulting services to the wireless industry in the areas of regulatory compliance and interference remediation. Safety, compatibility, interference and security are all critical as it becomes more challenging than ever to address RF issues in an ever changing mobile world,” LBA Group explained in a press release.

LBA Group, Inc. has 50 years of experience in providing RF asset solutions and risk management for industrial and telecommunications infrastructure assets. They also post some pretty awesome pictures on Facebook!

1 Source Wireless Doubles Financial Capital Commitment For Future Build-Out

A few weeks ago 1 Source Wireless announced their expansion into the Midwest exceeding their initial projections, easily securing them a $5 million capital commitment based on proposed future build-out expansions through 2015. Today, 1 Source Wireless announced that they have secured $10 million financial capital commitment for the proposed plans.

The company is continuing to build on the successful execution by 1 Source’s management team of its 2013 tower to market goals and further exceed initial projections into the 2014-2015 build and expansion plan. 1 Source Wireless specializes in the development of wireless tower communication facilities. They have participated in the development of over 350 tower sites nation-wide over the past 15 years. Some of their services include: site identification, site acquisition, regulatory and compliance, planning and zoning, architectural and engineering, maintenance and repairs, as well as construction. 

Parents Have 3 Weeks to Convince Sprint to Move Cell Tower

The parents of students at Poinciana Elementary School in Collier County, Florida have three weeks until Sprint’s 75-foot tower will be turned on. In those three weeks they are determined to convince Sprint to move the tower to another location away from the school. There is now a sign hanging on the cell tower warning people to stay away from it because the radio frequency emissions may exceed exposure limits. But the FCC, even though they aren’t technically working right now, still have rules in place to limit the amount of RF emissions so people in close proximity to the tower aren’t affected.

Parents gathered at a school board meeting last night to discuss the tower but there’s nothing that the school board can do because Sprint operates the tower and doesn’t want to move it. If Sprint does agree to relocate the tower, it could cost at least $200,000, and it’s still an issue of who would pay for it to be moved. 

What Problems Could the Connected Car Cause Cell Phone Towers?

Last week at the PCIA’s 2013 Wireless Infrastructure Show, the Connected Car was a topic of discussion. As the wireless industry continues to expand, industry leaders are looking for new ways to bring wireless technology to every aspect of our lives including time spent in the car. It’s not news that people enjoy using their phones in the car. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, “31% of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed.”

Many wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verizon, along with many insurance companies, have started campaigns to urge people to not text and drive. The Connected Car aims to lower the rate of texting and driving while bringing you access to more wireless technology while you are in your car. Iain Gillott of iGR discussed the features of the Connected Car in a webinar yesterday.
The Connected Car would have a built-in LTE connection to the macro network that can connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot that is within the vehicle. Passengers will be able to access a wireless signal over the LTE connection. Gillott noted that, “We spend a lot of time in our cars as a society.” He says in the webinar that approximately 20% of Americans spend more than 60 minutes per day in the car.
While having access to technology like this on the road seems like a fantastic idea, what will it do to our networks and macro sites? “In-car data use increases bandwidth demand at peak network times and it adds to the network congestion problem,” Gillott explains.

Because the vehicle is moving, small cells will not work for cars so our macro networks will become congested. This is a challenged that supporters of the Connected Car face. Although this new technology is an opportunity for our mobile network infrastructure to grow, it’s not always easily achieved. It’s possible that our networks will be slow and over-capacity because of the Connected Car before more cell sites can be built to accommodate the influx in demand

SBA & American Tower Set Dates to Announce 3rd Quarter Earnings

SBA Communications and American Tower Corporation announced today that they will be announcing their 3rd quarter earnings within the next few weeks. SBA will release their results on Monday, November 4th after the market closes and they will host a conference call on Tuesday, November 5th at 10:00am to discuss the results. SBA Communications Corporation is a first choice provider and leading owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure in North, Central and South America. By "Building Better Wireless", SBA generates revenue from two primary businesses - site leasing and site development services. SBA's primary focus is the leasing of antenna space on its multi- tenant towers to a variety of wireless service providers under long-term lease contracts.

American Tower will announce their 3rd quarter results at 7:00am on Wednesday, October 30, 2013. Their conference call will be held at 8:30am that same Wednesday to discuss the results. American Tower is a leading independent owner, operator and developer of wireless and broadcast communications real estate. American Tower currently owns and operates over 61,000 communications sites in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Germany, Ghana, India, Mexico, Panama, Peru, South Africa and Uganda. 

Verizon Communications to Report Earnings Tomorrow

Tomorrow, October 17th, Verizon Communications will report their third-quarter earnings. Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Francis J. Shammo will present results on a webcast beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. Access instructions and presentation materials, including Verizon's earnings release, will be available at7:30 a.m. on Verizon's Investor Relations website,

Verizon Communications is the world leader in delivering innovation in communications, mobility, information and entertainment. We provide superior broadband, video and other wireless and wireline services to consumers, businesses, governments and wholesale customers across the globe.

Ruckus Wireless Named Leader in IDC MarketScape

Today Ruckus Wireless announced that it had been named a leader in the “IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Enterprise WLAN 2013-2014 Vendor Analysis.” This study looked at a variety of vendors that are part of the wireless LAN (WLAN) market. Ruckus Wireless is a global supplier of advanced wireless systems for the rapidly expanding mobile infrastructure market.

This IDC MarketScape assessed the enterprise wireless LAN market through the lens of indoor WLAN infrastructure, with an emphasis on the current 802.11n standard and various deployment architectures. Capabilities and strategies for the emerging 802.11ac standard also played a role in IDC's analysis, as did offerings in the service provider WLAN space for cellular offload and managed services. IDC projects the worldwide market for enterprise wireless LAN equipment will grow from $4.6B in 2013 to over $7.8Bby 2017, with the biggest gains coming within the service provider and education sectors,” Ruckus Wireless explained.

Ruckus Wireless offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor products to mobile carriers, broadband service providers, and corporate enterprises. Ruckus Wireless works to create technology that can increase network capacity in order to keep up with the growing demand of wireless and broadband services.

According to IDC, "Ruckus has a strong history of internal innovation, from the pioneering of IPTV to various advances in antenna technology, including being an industry pioneer in adaptive antenna array and many other advanced RF functionalities. Ruckus' BeamFlex™ beamforming technology and dual-polarized smart antenna arrays allow for efficient spatial multiplexing, and Ruckus claims improved coverage in tough environments with fewer APs.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

AMT Keeps “Outperform Rating”, CEO Sells 100,000 Shares of Company Stock

Yesterday, Deutsche Bank reiterated their “outperform” rating for American Tower Corporation (AMT). This means the analysts believe that the American Tower Stock is going to do better than the market return.

Before Deutsche Bank released their rating, CEO James Taiclet Jr. sold 100,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.73, for a total value of $7,273,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, Taiclet now directly owns 100,041 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,275,982. You can view the form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission here.

American Tower’s 52-week high is $85.26 and their 52-week low is $67.89. The AMT stock closed at $74.64 yesterday. Analysts at Nomura upgraded American Tower’s rating from “neutral” to “buy” back on September 16th; whereas the analysts at Maquarie boosted the price target from $84 to $88 on September 17th, giving American Tower an “outperform” rating.

American Tower released their 2013 Q2 earnings on July 31, 2013. They reported a core growth of 18.1% with a total rental and management revenue growth of 15.7%. The company expects the new business and core organic growth trends to remain favorable due to the carriers deploying networks worldwide.