U.S.’s two largest wireless carriers, AT&T and Verizon, are joining forces to build cell towers together, Verizon announced today. AT&T and Verizon are working with a third company, Tillman Infrastructure, to help build cell towers. Tillman Infrastructure is a private company that makes and owns towers. It will work with the two wireless carriers to build towers to suit them.
The new cell towers will be added to locations that need more wireless coverage from the two carriers. AT&T and Verizon have said that they may relocate some of the current cell equipment to use at the new locations.
The interesting move here is that AT&T and Verizon decided to partner with Tillman Infrastructure instead of one of top three companies that build towers: American Tower, Crown Castle, and SBA Communications. Executives from both companies said that this move with underdog Tillman Infrastructure was purposeful. Tillman Infrastructure is a relatively small company based in New York.
Verizon’s chief network office Nicola Palmer said that these new partnerships will allow it to bolster its network further, improve customer experience, and help cut costs. Albeit the move to go with Tillman Infrastructure was also a move to cut cost due to a smaller company charging less (potentially), and Tillman Infrastructure getting more business from two of the largest U.S. wireless carriers.
AT&T’s SVP of global supply chain said that “We need more alternatives to the traditional tower leasing model with the large incumbents. It’s not cost-effective or sustainable.” AT&T does have a point here. If they were to build and maintain their own tower infrastructure, they can reduce overall cost long-term. In the leasing business model, AT&T and Verizon have to continuously make leasing payments, thus costing them more long-term.
AT&T, Verizon, and Tillman Infrastructure will start building towers early next year, and they will soon go live right after they’re finished being put up. AT&T and Verizon saw increases in their shares value after breaking news about this partnership.