Tower Firms Feeling Sting of T-Mobile’s 5G Network Spending Slowdown

Report by SUE MAREK, Special Contributor, writing at Light Reading.

American Tower, SBA Communications, Crown Castle and other tower firms in the US are feeling the pinch from what appears to be a 5G network slowdown by T-Mobile. The operator has denied any deceleration of its 5G network plans, but various reports from tower companies and contractors have indicated the carrier is holding off on new cell sites as it awaits the outcome of its proposed $26 billion purchase of Sprint.

In a new report today from Wall Street research firm Wells Fargo, tower companies said T-Mobile’s deployment of new cell sites has slowed down considerably recently, which is primarily impacting macro cell sites but not small cells. Tower companies said that their T-Mobile contacts are telling them that the reason for the slowdown is because T-Mobile’s Sprint acquisition is still not closed — the companies had hoped to close the transaction this summer but delayed that to the end of this year.

Wireless Estimator first reported of the slowdown in T-Mobile’s 5G network deployment last month, citing several network construction contractors that reported the operator was halting new network equipment purchase orders for the remainder of 2019.

T-Mobile’s slowdown is particularly painful for tower firms and construction companies because, over the past 18 months, T-Mobile has been aggressively expanding its network in the 600MHz spectrum. “The build, coupled with T-Mobile’s regular tower activity supporting its other spectrum bands has created a robust driver of revenue growth for the tower cos,” said the Wells Fargo report.

The full report is HERE.

 

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