American Tower Corporation (ATC) has been investing in more efficient and scalable power solutions at many of the company’s sites to be ready for the requirements of U.S. carriers extending their 5G networks nationwide, the company’s President and CEO, Tom Bartlett, said during a conference call with investors.
“What we do expect to be unique to 5G is the added use of massive MIMO technology for mid-band spectrum deployments on our macro towers, which should provide operators with more dynamic coverage and capacity capabilities. The race to nationwide 5G with the use of massive MIMO will require more fiber connections to antennas, increased DC power, and enough capacity to accommodate the size and weight of these more intelligent RF solutions. We’ve also upgraded the capacity of many of our tower structures over the last decade, installed energy efficient LED lighting on many sites, and invested in site hardening initiatives where appropriate. Simply put, we stand ready to service our customers as they accelerate their 5G deployments,” the executive said.
Bartlett also noted that the company expects that the increased availability of spectrum in the marketplace, particularly on the mid-band side, will boost mobile usage.
“Spectrum has always been the lifeblood of the wireless industry, and given the capacity necessary to provide users a true 5G experience, it is more important today than ever before. Particularly significant in our view are midband spectrum assets like 2.5 GHz and the newly acquired C-band frequencies, as they provide our customers with a crucial middle ground between the attractive propagation characteristics of low band spectrum and the deep capacity characteristics of higher band,” he said. “We believe the results of the most recently completed C-band auction underscore the importance of this spectrum to our customers as they look to monetize the benefits of 5G.”
The company reported overall revenues of $2.16 billion for the first quarter of 2021, surging 8.3% year-on-year.
American Tower’s profits for the period amounted to $652 million, up 55.8% compared to the first quarter of 2020.
During the first quarter of 2021, the company spent approximately $115 million to acquire 116 communications sites, including 48 sites in the U.S. and 68 sites in Latin America.
American Tower ended the first quarter of 2021 with a portfolio of approximately 187,000 communications sites.
In January, Spanish telecom operator Telefónica’s subsidiary Telxius Telecom had signed an agreement with American Tower Corporation for the sale of its telecommunications towers businesses in Europe and Latin America.
The agreement involves 30,722 telecommunication tower sites and covers two separate and independent transactions: One for the European division and another for the business in Latin America. Telxius has telecommunications towers in Spain, Germany, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Last month, American Tower and Dish Network Corporation signed a master lease agreement through which the latter company may lease space on up to 20,000 American Tower communications sites.
Through the deal, Dish will secure access to American Tower’s U.S. portfolio of communications sites as it deploys its new nationwide 5G network.
“First, we announced the acquisition of Telxius, which we believe will be transformational for our European business. We also signed a master lease agreement with Dish which locks in attractive multi-year growth in cash property revenue for us, beginning in 2022. Second, demand for our towers continues to be strong throughout our global footprint and we saw this reflected in both our solid tenant billings growth and in the high volume of new bills in the quarter,” said the company’s CFO Rod Smith.
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