Every time Apple or Microsoft introduces a brand new, must-have product the demand for wireless capabilities skyrockets. At NATE UNITE 2014 in San Diego, Michael Fitch, Principal of Fitch Strategies and former President and CEO of PCIA, shared that newer smart phones use about 600x the amount of data than feature phones, and tablets use about 800x more data. This is driving the demand for wireless infrastructure, but it’s also dictating what type of infrastructure we need. Rural America is a huge expanse of geography and there, towers will very much be the preferred option instead of crowded, metropolitan areas. However, this wasn’t always the case. “A few years ago it was macro site towers. In a few exceptional circumstances a DAS installation was justified,” Fitch explains. “At that time the industry was not as enthusiastic about DAS, it was expensive, more complicated, unlike the tower side DAS hadn’t sorted itself out. If there was going to be host sites or the mobile carriers were going to build and install their own DAS sites. There were a number of issues of DAS in the front end, but the situation flipped when people realized the benefits of DAS compared to macro cell sites. So then there was a pressure to do DAS instead of macro sites for a while. All of that has leveled out to a large degree. Local jurisdictions understand that they each have their trade offs and they each have their issues—as does most infra in one way or another.” Continue reading here.
When prosecutors attempt to use cell tower data in criminal cases, there are a lot of important factors regarding the tower that matter. For a long time, the information collected by towers was referred to as “junk science” by law enforcement agencies that saw the unreliability of cell phone tracking in the field. However, with technological advancements this data has been used to convict criminals and secure prison time. Currently, tower data is being used in the case against two men who are charged of killing a California Pinyon Pines family in 2006. The reliability of this technology is being questioned and a lot of what determines reliability deals directly with the towers. Michael Cherry of Virginia-based consulting firm Cherry Biometics Inc. spoke to The Desert Sun explaining, “Factors such as tower maintenance, the use of temporary towers and the load of traffic on the cell network can bounce calls around to different towers. As long as multiple towers are within range, a call doesn’t have to go to the closest tower or the tower with the strongest signal.” In order for police and attorneys to use this information to prosecute criminals, it’s important to maintain the equipment on your towers.
Earlier this week, CTI Towers, Inc., announced that they had secured up to $30 million in debt financing and closed its first-part acquisitions, purchasing five towers from a major wireless carrier. CTI Towers, Inc., is a wireless tower operator with more than 800 towers throughout the U.S.
By acquiring these 5 towers, CTI Tower’s continues to grow outside the Comcast portfolio, where a large majority (230) towers came from. The company is looking to secure towers within regions with high-demand for wireless capacity.
“We remain committed to helping our customers meet deadlines for new cell sites and network deployment,” said Tony Peduto, Chief Executive Officer, CTI Towers. “We will continue to seek strategic acquisitions to fuel growth as the wireless industry responds to the demand for wireless broadband services.”
CTI Towers has already had interest from the major carriers regarding equipment on the towers to bring their customers better service. The towers CTI Towers acquired are located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. With the demand for mobile increasing dramatically, it’s becoming necessary to expand our wireless infrastructure to deal with these capacity demands.
“As the personal computing device and smartphone industry took off, we recognized mobile network operators would eventually need to fortify their mobile networks to meet consumer demand for mobile Internet access at scale,” said David Zilberman, Venture Partner at Comcast Ventures and CTI Towers Board Chairman. “We’re excited to see CTI Towers grow its footprint and enhance its ability to deliver even more tower inventory across the country, helping all wireless carriers keep their networks in-stride with consumer demand.”
There was a steady buzz of excitement throughout the PCIA’s 2013 Wireless Infrastructure Show earlier this week, but when Bloomberg reported that AT&T is close to selling towers to Crown Castle the questions and curiosity only increased.
“AT&T, the largest U.S. phone company, is near an agreement to sell its wireless towers to Crown Castle International Corp, people familiar with the matter said,” Bloomberg reported.
While there were no specific details given, AT&T has been looking to sell some of their towers for a few months now. This news broke back in September, but now AT&T may have found the perfect offer.
“People with knowledge of the matter said in September the assets could fetch $5 billion.The sale would bolster AT&T’s balance sheet as it undertakes a $14 billion network upgrade, plans a stock buyback that may top $11 billion, and considers acquisitions in Europe,” according to Bloomberg.
No one from AT&T or Crown Castle was willing to comment on this news so it’s still uncertain whether this deal will be finalized or not. AT&T has about 10,000 towers, which generate about $326 million in annual revenue as other companies pay to lease space on the facilities, according to JPMorgan research analyst Phil Cusick. The towers may contribute cash flowof about $216 million a year, and a sale at 17-times that figure would fetch about $3.7 billion, he said in a note in August. (Source: Bloomberg)
If you tried to access the FCC’s website yesterday you realized that along with the government shutdown the FCC shutdown as well taking their website with it. Even the FCC tweeted, “We’re sorry, but FCC will not be tweeting or responding to @ replies during the government shutdown.” So what exactly does this mean?
Well the FCC posted their Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations and it explains that, “Suspended activities include, among many others: Consumer complaint and inquiry phone lines cannot be answered; consumer protection and local competition enforcement must cease; licensing services, including broadcast, wireless, and wireline, must cease; management of radio spectrum and the creation of new opportunities for competitive technologies and services for the American public must be suspended; and equipment authorizations, including those bringing new electronic devices to American consumers, cannot be provided.”
However, the FCC explains that telecommunications companies must continue to use the Network Outage Reporting System, which will remain available during the shutdown. These companies will still be able to filed reports of telecommunication service disruption because this information is essential to maintain and improve the reliability and security of the telecommunications infrastructure.
But Inside Tower’s has good news for you! Our IT Database has been seamlessly updated to the FCC’s ASR database. It features a user-friendly interface to look up towers and tower owners, and the ability to customize lookups and export the results.
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Email us at [email protected], visit our website at http://insidetowers.com/it_database/, or give us a call at 904.285.3239 to see how our database can help you during the FCC shutdown.
This week in Athens, Ohio 150 feet of wire was stolen from a Verizon Wireless Cell Tower. Verizon reported that the wires on the ground outside of the control office were also cut. The copper wire was also removed from the tower after the thief climbed the tower and unbolted it. Thankfully, cell phone service was not interrupted because of the theft. The cell site had last been visited on August 19th.
The Lebanon Township in New Jersey voted at the beginning of August to approve a second carrier contract on an existing cell tower. This approval allowed Nextel to place equipment on the tower as well as outlined provisions for other companies to use the tower. Even though Nextel has been using the tower for a few months now, they have not been paying rent to the township as agreed upon.
Mayor Tom McKee said it was not yet time to send default notice as suggested by a resident. Invoices have been sent, McKee said, but the language in the contract “doesn’t give us a leg to stand on.” (Source: NJ.com)
Durham, North Carolina city and county planners are checking with the elected officials next week about rewriting the rules regarding the placement of cell phone towers. This spring it was requested by members of the Joint City/County Planning Committee to tighten the laws concerning the review process for concealed towers and towers disguised as trees.
“Planners suggest regarding such towers as concealed only if they’re placed inside ‘an existing cluster of trees’ that covers at least 500 square feet, and only if they’re no taller than 20 feet above ‘the tallest tree within the cluster,’ according The HeraldSun.
For unconcealed towers, currently the law for stipulates that the Durham Board of Adjustment, the City Council, or the County Commissioner must approve the placement.
“The proposed changes are reacting to the controversy that erupted in south Durham after representatives of Sprint secured permission to place a ‘concealed’ tower next to St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church off N.C. 751 Because it’s to be camouflaged as a tree, Durham’s existing rules allowed the plan to be approved by the City/County Planning Department without a public hearing,” The Herald Sun reported.
However, the changes in the law are coming because residents believe that Sprint’s 120-foot tower will not be concealed seeing as it will be bigger than any of the trees around it.
The New Castle, Pennsylvania police are working to determine who is responsible for stealing the copper wiring from a power substation and a cell phone tower. The first theft was reported last Saturday when approximately 30 feet of copper wire was cut from a Verizon cell tower.
Ever since 2007, metal theft increases have popped up over the United States—even the number of manhole cover thefts increased substantially between 2007 and 2008. A black market for copper has emerged over the past few years, which is why the stealing of copper wiring has been increasing. The closing price of copper per pound yesterday was $3.24.
Even though AT&T put up a good fight with the city council of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, last night the council voted 4-3 to decline AT&T’s appeal to build a cell phone tower in Sabana Heights Park. The tower was going to be disguised as a 65-foot clock tower near a neighborhood playground.
AT&T tried to be flexible and work with the nearby residents. They suggested making the tower shorter and less wide but they said they couldn’t change the location. “We were trying to accommodate the residents’ concerns about the size and it interrupting their views and we want to take that into consideration, but we really do have to have a tower somewhere,” AT&T spokeswoman Karen Kruse said. (Source: KOB.com)
AT&T considered other locations but they either weren’t possible to construct on or they wouldn’t provide enough new cell phone coverage to the area.