Tower giants American Tower and Crown Castle could be the latest victims of Sprint’s six straight years of lousy revenues if the carrier goes through with a plan to move to government-owned towers as reported Friday afternoon. San Francisco-based Re/code reported Sprint’s latest “radical overall” plans for its cellular network have been finalized and call for the nation’s fourth-largest carrier to move its radio equipment off towers owned by American Tower and Crown Castle to government-owned structures. The savings could be as much as $1 billion, reported Re/code, as tower costs are a significant portion of the carrier’s capital expenses. Sprint also pays about $1 billion annually to AT&T and Verizon to carry its customers’ wireless calls from towers to landlines, known as “backhaul” and seeks to reduce those payments. The new plan, reports Re/code, would instead use microwave technology for this purpose, an approach previously used by Clearwire, which Sprint acquired in 2012.
But the mere notion that a
government-owned tower could be less expensive raised eyebrows from one
Georgia-based tower owner. He told Inside Towers,
“I’m not sure that’s true government towers have cheaper rent. The
county here, in an effort to keep tenants off their tower, starts at
$5,000 for a single bay translator.” Continue Reading