AT&T is Looking to Sell Towers for $5 Billion

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Bloombergreported that AT&T is looking for buyers to purchase its wireless towers for approximately $5 billion. This influx in cash will help AT&T’s financials as they begin undertaking a $14 billion network upgrades. “The tower industry is consolidating, with fewer companies controlling bigger swaths of the equipment needed to transmit wireless signals amid booming demand for mobile communications,” Bloomberg explained.

American Tower recently agreed to purchase Global Tower Company and rumor has it that the company is on a bit of a spending spree. American Tower is the largest owner and operator of cell towers in the United States. If they are looking to secure that status, they may consider purchasing AT&T’s towers. However the other two players in the industry, SBA Communications and Crown Castle International, may consider making a deal with AT&T to secure their role in the wireless industry and compete with American Tower. 

September 19, 2013 |

PBS Connects its Warning, Alert and Response Network to FEMA

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Today, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) announced that it has connect its Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) alert aggregator using a customized implementation of TeleCommunication Systems’ Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) gateway product.  Once this system is fully functional, PBS WARN will allow cellular providers a free backup method of reciving Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) messages.   The connection to FEMA is a key step in implementing the WARN project and providing this service to cellular companies.

“The PBS WARN system will deliver CMAS emergency alerts (also known as WEA) via free, over-the-air digital TV signals broadcast by PBS member stations and other non-commercial licensees who receive the PBS satellite feed. Cell phone subscribers of participating carriers in the geo-targeted area will receive these critical messages as 90-character text messages with a unique alert tone,” according to the PBS press release.

The Wireless Emergency Alert system is similar to text messages, although it uses a different kind of technology to deliver the message immediately and make sure the message isn’t delayed on the wireless networks.

Dana Golub, executive director of WARN for PBS, said, “From being involved with the creation of the WEA standards to the design and installation of their CMAS solutions, we have benefitted immensely from TCS’ knowledge and experience. Helping to notify the public of emergencies, disasters and other important events is a natural extension of PBS’ mission, so we are thrilled to have reached this important milestone.”
September 16, 2013 |

Acquiring GTP Isn’t The End of The Road For American Tower

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After American Tower announced their acquisition of Global Tower Partners (GTP), they made it clear that they are still on the lookout for more purchases. “This is a significant strategic milestone for American Tower,” Chairman and CEO Jim Taiclet said regarding M&A, “but it’s definitely not the end of the road.”
By acquiring GTP, American Tower will add 5,400 domestic towers to their portfolio. Below you’ll find an overview of the GTP Portfolio.:
GTP Tower Portfolio
1/3rd of sites in Top 50 BTA’s
2/3rd of sites in Top 100 BTA’s
Average tenancy of ~2.0 per site
63% of total revenue from sites on land that is owned or on long-term leases with 20+ years remaining
GTP Financial Highlights
2014E Revenue of $345m
2014E Gross Margin of $270m (78% of revenue)

September 11, 2013 |

Lake Lawrence Residents Raise Concerns Over Cell Tower Proposal

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The nearby residents of Lake Lawrence, Washington are concerned over the possible health and environmental effects that a new cell tower might have. On July 25th, American Tower notified residents of a possible 180-foot monopole built on a nine-acre parcel. While some residents are worried about this tower, others are excited about the prospect of having better cell phone reception in the area.
AT&T will be the first wireless carrier on the pole but other carriers will be able to lease space on the cell tower to provide better reception to their customers. Alison Baker, a nearby resident of the potential cell tower site, is concerned about her the effect the radio frequency will have on her health as well as the effect the electromagnetic field will have on her bees.
“I’m a beekeeper and electromagnetic frequencies — bees, birds, insects, all go by electromagnetics. That’s how they determine direction. So to have it on a piece of property that borders a wetland as well as (what’s) considered a buffer zone, that is a huge concern to me.” (Source: Nisqually Valley News)
The FCC reported that, “According to the FDA and the World Health Organization (WHO), among other organizations, to date, the weight of scientific evidence has not effectively linked exposure to radio frequency energy from mobile devices with any known health problems.”
While cell towers may have an electromagnetic field, it can only affect bees that are in extremely close proximity. In fact, if there is just a cell phone (not a tower) near the beehive, the worker bees will be unable to return.
Resident of Clearwood, Kali Phoenix, who lives about seven miles from the proposed tower site is excited for the possibility of a cell tower because they have no service. “She said the lack of cell phone reception in the area poses a public hazard, because it delays response times during emergencies when people trying to call for help can’t get good reception,” the Nisqually Valley News reported.

August 16, 2013 |

Wireless Emergency Alert Used In California For The First Time

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Earlier this week the first Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) used in Southern California happened in Murrieta. The WEA was a message alerting people in the area that there was an AMBER Alert out for missing children.  The alert came in on Monday around 11pm. If you haven’t received one of these messages before, they are sent by authorized government agencies and the messages are pushed to your phones via your mobile carrier.

While some people may find these alerts obnoxious or intrusive, these alerts are for emergency purposes only and will alert you of extreme weather warnings, local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action, AMBER Alerts, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency. Some people are concerned that these agencies have their phone number on record and are tracking their location, but that’s not how WEA’s work. The agencies can activate the cell towers in the area and send a message to every cell phone that is WEA capable to let people know about the current threat. You can opt out of WEA messages for imminent threats and AMBER alerts, but not for Presidential messages. 

August 8, 2013 |
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