AT&T and Crown Castle announced a $4.85 billion deal under which AT&T will lease the rights to approximately 9,100 of its company-owned wireless towers to Crown Castle. The deal also includes the sale of approximately 600 AT&T towers to Crown Castle.
Under the terms of the leases, Crown Castle will have exclusive rights to lease and operate approximately the towers, including the option to sublease to other carriers. The average term of the lease rights is about 28 years. As the leases expire, Crown Castle will have fixed price purchase options, totaling approximately $4.2 billion, for these towers based on their estimated fair market values at the end of the lease terms.
AT&T will sublease capacity on the towers from Crown Castle for a minimum of 10 years for $1,900 per month per site, with annual rent increases of 2 percent. AT&T has the option to renew up to a total of 50 years. AT&T will also have access to additional reserve capacity on the towers for future use. AT&T expects the additional capacity will help it continue to meet growing demand for mobile Internet services. The transaction will have no impact on the customer experience.
“This deal is good for AT&T and our shareholders,” said Bill Hogg, Senior Vice President — Network Planning and Engineering, AT&T Services Inc. “This deal will let us monetize our towers while giving us the ability to add capacity as we need it. And we’ll get additional financial flexibility to continue to invest in our business, maintain a strong balance sheet and return value to our shareholders.”
- In December 2012, Crown Castle purchased approximately 7,200 towers from T-Mobile USA for $2.4 billion in cash.
- Also in 2012, Crown Castle International acquired NextG Networks for approximately $1.0 billion in cash. NextG, which specialized in outdoor distributed antenna systems ("DAS"), had over 7,000 nodes-on-air and a further 1,500 nodes under construction. In addition, NextG had rights to over 4,600 miles of fiber. Over 90% of NextG nodes were in urban and suburban locations, with 80% in the top ten US metropolitan areas, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas Fort Worth.