US telecoms giant AT&T has announced that it has agreed to lease the rights to approximately 9,100 of its company-owned wireless towers to Crown Castle International, which will also purchase approximately 600 AT&T towers. In exchange, AT&T will receive USD4.85 billion in cash. Under the terms of the deal, Crown Castle will have exclusive rights to lease and operate 9,100 AT&T towers for a period of 28 years. Following the expiration of the agreement Crown Castle will have fixed price purchase options, totalling approximately USD4.2 billion, based on their estimated ‘fair market values’ at the end of the term. During the lease period Crown Castle will have full operating rights and responsibilities for the towers, and will be permitted to sub-lease available space to other companies.
In turn, AT&T will sub-lease capacity on the towers from Crown Castle for a minimum of ten years for USD1,900 per month per site, with annual rent increases of 2%. Further, AT&T has the option to renew the lease for up to 50 years. The telco will also have access to additional reserve capacity on the towers for future use.
AT&T has stressed that the transaction will have no impact on the customer experience.