Tower Talk: a guide to the latest major cell site developments

7 Mar 2017

US-based passive infrastructure firm American Tower Corporation (ATC) has published its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2016, booking total consolidated revenue of USD5.786 billion, an increase of 21.3% year-on-year. Adjusted EBITDA for the year grew 15.9% on an annual basis to USD3.553 billion, whilst net income rose 44.4% to USD970 million. CAPEX for the full year reached USD701 million, of which approximately USD127 million was for non-discretionary capital improvements and corporate capital expenditures. ATC noted that over the course of the year, the group spent a total of USD1.4 billion to acquire more than 43,000 new sites, primarily in its overseas markets – including Argentina and its most recent market, France.

Reporting its financial results for the six months to end-December 2016, Arqiva, the UK’s largest independent communication and broadcasting tower firm, announced that its ‘Telecoms and machine-to-machine (M2M)’ business saw revenue growth of 14.7% year-on-year to GBP167.4 million (USD205.4 million), due principally to growth in the M2M segment. Excluding M2M, telecoms revenue was up 5.0% y-o-y, with Arqiva attributing the growth to rising demand for 4G: ‘Arqiva is carrying out large volumes of antenna and feeder upgrade projects, resulting in a significant increase in installation services revenues’. By the end of December 2016, the operator had completed 4,871 4G upgrades, with a further 3,400 in the pipeline for the next 18 months. Telecoms & M2M EBITDA totalled GBP70.0 million for the period, an increase of 13.3% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the group noted that it is developing its outdoor small cells operations, using low-power base stations to provide street level capacity to mobile network operators (MNOs), particularly in dense urban areas. To that end, trials are underway with two MNOs in London whilst, in parallel, Arqiva is completing commercial design orders from an MNO, with network deployment expected during 2017. Further, as previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Arqiva has partnered with Samsung to trial 5G technology.

Infrastructure firm ISA Group, which provides fibre connectivity in seven countries via Internexa has signed an agreement to invest up to USD80 million in Andean Tower Partners (ATP). ATP owns, operates and manages telecom tower infrastructure throughout Colombia and Peru and plans to expand into the Andean region. ISA will partner with ATP’s parent company, US-based Digital Bridge, and will take a 48% stake in ATP. Commenting on the pact, ISA CEO Bernado Vargas Gibsone noted: ‘the participation in this new business, complementary to the infrastructure developed and managed by ISA, is important for us, since it allows us to participate in an industry with strong growth potential, with the right partner.’ For its part, Digital Bridge highlighted the importance of Internexa’s complementary fibre footprint, in ATP’s target markets: Colombia (6,887km), Peru (4,674km) and Ecuador (2,413km); and to a lesser extent Chile (2,377km) and Argentina (2,577km). ‘ISA’s unique footprint of transmission and telecommunications infrastructure in the Andean region will be very attractive to our wireless clients as they deploy their 4G networks in 2017 and beyond,’ Digital Bridge CEO Marc Ganzi was quoted as saying.

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Colombia, Peru, United Kingdom, United States, American Tower Corporation (ATC), Andean Tower Partners (ATP), Arqiva, Digital Bridge Holdings, Internexa