With yesterday’s joint announcement of a long-term lease agreement by DISH and Crown Castle (CCI), analysts are viewing it as a plus not just for the participants, but the tower industry in general. DISH will lease space on up to 20,000 towers from CCI nationwide and, in turn, receive fiber transport services with the option to utilize Crown Castle for pre-construction services. No specific financial terms were given but in September, T-Mobile signed a 15-year deal with American Tower for an estimated $17 billion.
“We view this deal as positive for CCI and for the tower sector more broadly,” said Spencer Kurn at New Street Research. “CCI accounts for 30 percent of the US tower market, which could suggest that DISH intends to install equipment on 65,000 sites if DISH’s network build is evenly distributed across the tower companies. We suspect this announcement implies that DISH will prioritize CCI towers wherever they have a choice, which could mean that CCI captures a greater share of DISH’s cell sites,” Kurn said. “Still, it seems that DISH plans to build to more than the 50,000 that we had assumed for their initial phase, so all of the towers are likely better off than we initially expected.”
“The CCI-DISH agreement is a good deal for both companies,” said Inside Towers Business Editor, John Celentano. “With a definitive agreement for access to requisite infrastructure assets, DISH can set a course to meet its build out commitments. (see DISH Progressing With 5G Network Build). At the same time,” he said, “CCI’s diverse portfolio of towers, fiber, small cells, and edge computing along with infrastructure services will serve DISH well in getting its network up and running cost-effectively and efficiently in DISH’s targeted markets. This agreement probably will carry DISH to its minimum build out commitments in June, 2022. We can anticipate extensions to the agreement as DISH expands its nationwide coverage in 2023 and beyond.”
DISH Executive Vice President of Network Development, Dave Mayo, called the deal “an important milestone,” and cited Crown’s experience and “broad tower portfolio” as key elements in their drive to build a nationwide 5G network.
Jay Brown, Crown Castle’s CEO, called the agreement “an important development for the industry.” Brown said his company offers DISH a variety of buildout options with towers, small cells and fiber solutions.
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