Cell Tower Companies: The Best Way To Invest In The Mobile Data Boom

Chilton REIT Team picture

The third publicly-traded tower company, SBA Communications (NASDAQ: SBAC ), owns about 15,000 towers in the US and 2,500 in international markets. October was an especially active month for the tower companies on the external growth front. On October 1, AMT acquired 5,900 towers from Global Tower Partners for $4.8 billion. On October 21, CCI announced the purchase of approximately 9,700 towers from AT&T, one of last remaining significant tower portfolios in the United States. Remaining concentrations include 12,000 towers owned by Verizon and 5,000 towers owned by US Cellular. Equity has come at an especially low cost for each of the tower companies as they generate substantial free cash flow which can be used for land acquisitions under existing towers, development of new towers, dividends, and stock repurchases. As of September 30, 2013, AMT owns the land (typically range of 2,000-10,000 sqft) under 29% of its US towers (12% total portfolio), while CCI generates about one-third of its gross margin from towers on owned land. Land acquisition is increasingly a high priority of both companies. For example, CCI has 100 employees devoted to nothing but negotiating with land owners. CCI estimates that one-third of land owners opt to sell when the lease expires and the other two-thirds extend the lease.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://seekingalpha.com/article/1801822-cell-tower-companies-the-best-way-to-invest-in-the-mobile-data-boom

Cell towers: Ready money, or indispensable cash cow?

The deal is a work in progress, with contracts still being drawn up. When a contract is settled the City Council will vote on it at a single session. Fredrick and Severson agree the communications towers bring in about $200,000 a year for the city. After that, their views diverge. Fredrick points out that $200,000 a year, multiplied by 40 years, equals $8 million of revenue for the city. The proposed 40-year lease to Unison, a New York-based company that manages cell towers across the country, would bring a $2.65 million lump sum payment to the city before the end of November. In addition, the city would get half of all revenues from new sales over the 40 years and would avoid the danger that improvements in cell technology in coming decades might render the towers obsolete. But Fredrick, who has criticized the deal many times before the City Council, doesnt like the numbers. He said the $2.65 million payment is $5.35 million short of the $8 million the city could expect to collect over the next 40 years if it kept the towers, and the city could collect 100 percent of new revenues instead of the 50 percent offered by Unison.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.omaha.com/article/20131105/NEWS2001/131039989

Rants from the Hill: Towering Cell Phone Trees

He said contrary to what AT&T and Mckeon say, the tower can be seen from many different points of the town. Andersen is against the tower and said he doesnt think cell service is a necessity comparable to the preservation of the historic town. We have terrible service here in Colebrook but that in a sense is not the biggest problem, he said. We are in a historic village. Its impinging on it. Bachman said the council is taking all of the opinions and statements into consideration during its process. She said she cannot disclose the entire process or project, but the council has asked AT&T to supply it with supplemental exhibits. AT&T will present the additional exhibits during the siting councils next public hearing on Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. During that time the council will hear more comment from town residents as well as the cell company. The council will decide whether to accept the companys offer or not. Because the council has ultimate jurisdiction, it can suggest the town be place in a different location.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.registercitizen.com/general-news/20131102/decision-on-colebrook-cell-tower-proposal-still-up-in-the-air

Decision on Colebrook cell tower proposal still up in the air

Mercy Quaye

A cell phone tower disguised as a tree. This question of what cell towers look like is more significant than you might think, simply by virtue of scale. There are almost 7 billion mobile phones in the world, 328 million of which are in the U.S., which means that we have more cell phones than people in America, even if you count the infants which is probably wise, since babies will be using cell phones soon enough. This level of saturation necessitates a lot of towers: about 200,000 in this country alone, which adds up to a lot of ugly crap on hills and ridgelines. Because the range of a cell tower isnt much above 20 miles even this website when those hills and ridges arent in the way and because the number of towers is proportional to the number of users we need to build more towers every day, and they are most effective when installed in places that are visually prominent. It makes sense, then, that we entrepreneurial Americans would find a way to make a virtue of necessity and sell not only cell towers but also ways of disguising them. The tower-as-tree innovation was the work of Tucson-based Larson Camouflage, which pioneered the mono-pine back in 1992 and proudly describes itself as the leader in the concealment industry. Larson has figured out how to turn cell towers into a wide range of cultural and architectural objects, including water towers, grain silos, gas station signs, streetlights, flagpoles and chimneys. My favorite of these obfuscations is the disguising of a cell tower as a church steeple an appealing business proposition, since many local building codes permit churches an exception to maximum structure heights. It is even the case that some churches without steeples are now building them solely to accommodate cell towers. This can generate a handsome income in leasing fees, which average $45,000 per year but in some places run as high as a half million dollars.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.hcn.org/blogs/range/rants-from-the-hill-towering-cell-phone-trees

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