The Wireless Pulse 8th Edition
January’s attendees are comprised of various telecom executives working across the national wireless real estate spectrum.
1. The controversy related to 5G’s interference with airplanes is merely noise. Europe has a densely deployed 5G system surrounding airports and has no airplane interference.
2. Experts expect carrier 2022 cap ex spending to be 15% above 2021.
3. T-Mobile will be the leader in cap ex spending and macro site modifications.
4. Verizon and ATT have satisfied debt and ATT has unloaded non-core business assets. This will free up capital to focus on macro site modifications.
5. Expect the majority of cap ex spending to modify existing macro sites to 5G.
6. Crown Castle’s announcement they will build 35,000 micro cell sites will have no net affect on cell service. It’s a paltry number of sites nationally and probably won’t be fully realized until the end of the year.
7. Moreover, micro cell development will be the smallest growth in the telecon sector.
8. Carriers and fiber companies will push fiber to home construction as opposed to building long haul fiber. Reason is consumers demand at home outpaces the need for laying fiber for future use.
9. DISH is beta testing their system in Las Vegas. All eyes are on them to see if they will be successful launching and operating their system.
10. If Las Vegas is successful, DISH will have 20% of US markets operational. They are behind in their FCC agreement, but we doubt the FCC will do anything but pat them on the head and say, “good job”.
11. Look for greenfield macro site builds to be in rural areas. There will be some in-fill new builds in major markets but likely limited to relocation of existing sites where carriers lost their leases.
12. Supply chain issues in telecom are the worst in the history of the industry. This will continue throughout the remainder of the year and possibly into 2023. Equipment order to delivery has doubled and is a serious problem.
13. Who will be the biggest winners in 2022-The tower companies! Wall Street has never really understood the tower business and probably never will. Their position is the tower stocks are overvalued isn’t shared by telecom experts.
14. Carriers will be land banking sites, (leasing sites with options of 2 to 3 years before the lease commences). This will allow them to entitle the location and once approved, schedule the buildout.
15. The main issue driving land banking is municipality red tape and entitlement processes. Pre pandemic they were short staffed, but the fact no one is available at the counter makes submittals and approvals a nightmare for A & E companies.
16. Amazon Wireless and DISH seem to be cozy. Real question is whether Amazon is an anchor partner or just supporting DISH? Time will tell.
17. Look for T-Mobile and Verizon to find greenfield BTS ops in rural areas this year.
18. Lots of concern about 5G deployment near airports. 5G operates on 100 MGHZ and below the frequency altimeters operate. In Europe where there is the most 5G density especially around airports, there is no measurable problem.
19. Look for ATT to get back in the game after shedding underperforming business units and debt. They are the 3rd major carrier after T-Mobile knocked them out of second place.
20. Most new BTS ops in the tower arena will be completed by small or regional tower companies. The big 3 are focused on existing tower growth and 5G mods.