The Wireless Pulse 5th Edition

The following information are opinions expressed by telecom executives in North America and Europe. The executives are involved in most every aspect of telecommunication infrastructure.

United States Market:
1. American Tower has a robust pipeline of leasing activity to wireless users looking to co-locate on towers in lieu of ground up development.
2. The driver is pretty obvious, 5G deployment, which in reality is more like 4G ½. We’ll never get to a full 5G system.
3. The looming question is how will carriers make money off of 5G. It’s well known that 4G was a major expense to the carriers and yielded nothing by way of profitability.
4. The more wireless growth there is the more wires that will be needed. Look for increased fiber construction across the entire US.
5. DISH is the first to deploy a true Open RAN system, which is cheaper and more homogenous than what the big 3 have in their cabinets. If Dish can make it work, the Big 3 will make the move to Open RAN.
6. One problem DISH will face in highly urbanized markets is not having enough spectrum to be able to complete an integrated system that has seamless coverage and speed comparable to the Big 3.
7. The market DISH is having the biggest hurdles to overcome is Las Vegas. The physical barriers to entry such as tower compound space available rooftops, lack of fiber is but a few problems they are dealing with.
8. DISH’s aligning with Amazon to provide for Drone control, which will facilitate drone deliveries from Amazon fulfillment centers.
9. The bottleneck carriers are facing is labor shortage. For the first time in telecommunications, all 4 carriers and the 3 public tower companies are all in a build/upgrade cycle. The labor shortage is not due to COVID or government handouts, its lack of skilled technicians.
10. Equipment orders are back logged but still available.

European Market:
1. Europe has a strong M & A market, especially in the tower business.
2. American Tower’s European subsidiary continues to buy tranches of towers in western Europe.
3. Western Europe is a year or so behind the US in 5G deployment.
4. Eastern Europe is a year or two behind Western Europe.
5. The two countries leading the 5G march are the UK and the Netherlands.
6. One of the primary reasons for the lag is deployment is European consumers hold onto the devices longer that US consumers. There are few devices being used and conversely no real need to meet the demands of a non-existent market.
7. Look for Germany and France to pick up the pace. They may even get on the same timeline of the UK and Netherlands by year end.

1. The big 3 tower companies are going to be the biggest winners in the 5G boom.
2. American Tower has made some recent changes in their operations, which seem promising.
3. Crown Castle will benefit greatly from DISH deploying on existing towers.
4. Marc Ganzi’s acquisition of Landmark Dividend and rebrand as Digital Colony is a bold move. The acquisition included Landmark’s operation, cell lease portfolio and data centers.
5. The M & A markets across the telecom spectrum will not slow down for the foreseeable future.