By Juan Pedro Tomás
Crown Castle finished the first quarter of 2021 with 40,000 towers and approximately 80,000 small cells on-air or committed in backlog as well as 80,000 route miles of fiber concentrated in the top US. markets, the company’s CEO Jay Brown said during a conference call with investors.
“Our strategy is to deliver the highest risk-adjusted returns for our shareholders by growing our dividend and investing in assets that will drive future growth. That focus has led us to invest in towers, small cells and fiber assets that are all foundational for the development of 5G networks in the US. We believe the series of strategic agreements that we have announced in recent months further highlights the synergistic value our shared infrastructure provides to our customers,” Brown said.
In the call, the executive also highlighted the announcement of the expansion of the firm’s strategic relationship with Verizon, through a recent long-term tower leasing agreement.
“We believe this agreement will deliver significant value for both parties, as it establishes terms for leasing additional capacity on existing tower sites with a structure that is intended to make it easier to expedite the deployment of C-band equipment over the next several years. The agreement also resulted in an increase in the average remaining current contracted lease term under our Verizon site leases to approximately 10 years,” Brown said.
The executive also said that one of core principles of the company’s strategy is to remain US-only, as the firm believes it represents the best market for wireless infrastructure ownership since it has the most attractive growth profile and the lowest risk. “We believe this dynamic of higher growth and lower risk will continue into the future which is why we expect our US -based strategy to drive significant returns for our shareholders. Starting with the higher growth we see in the US., the demand for our shared infrastructure offering across towers, small cells and fiber is tied to the robust demand for mobile data in the U.S. which continues to increase by more than 30 per cent annually,” Brown said.
“Because the outlook is so compelling, the US wireless market continues to attract a disproportionate amount of global capital investment. This is likely due in part to the fact that the durability and scale of wireless data growth in the US has repeatedly outperformed expectations,” the executive added.
Brown also noted that Crown Castle continues to invest in new small cell and fiber assets, which will allow the firm to capitalize on the 5G growth trends in the US.
“We are developing new capabilities and offerings that will leverage our existing assets to drive innovation and we believe will further extend our growth opportunity, such as CBRS and edge computing,” the executive said.