The earnings for the third quarter are now in, for all four of the carriers. With them all doing relatively well. All of them added over a million connections, including Sprint. Which is a good thing for all four companies. But what about spending on their networks? With more and more devices connecting to their towers, these carriers need to continue to invest in their networks to be sure they can hold up under the extra devices that are being added. In the quarter, T-Mobile and Verizon both spent pretty heavily on their network to continue improving them. Verizon’s CFO noted on the Q3 conference call that they spent $4.4 billion in the quarter on capital expenditures, and that brings the yearly total to $12.5 billion. And expects the 2015 total to be around $17.5 billion. As expected, Verizon has continued to deploy small cells, which are great for dense areas like stadiums, metro areas and malls. They have also been deploying distributed antenna systems, and other solutions to bring more capacity to their network. LTE data for Verizon has jumped 75% compared to a year ago. So more capacity is definitely needed.
T-Mobile’s CFO stated on their conference call, that magenta is maintaining the guidance they gave for cash capex for 2015, which was $4.4 billion to $4.7 billion. Carter noted that the company has already “rolled out the vast majority of spectrum that we owned all within the CapEx parameters that we disclosed and reiterated our guidance for the third time. Because essentially the vast majority is overlaying the existing network.” The 700MHz A Block spectrum that T-Mobile has, roughly covers about 190 million people. They are also in the process of closing deals to add more 700MHz spectrum that would cover an additional 20 million.
Meanwhile, AT&T and Sprint haven’t spent as much in the quarter on their network. A bit interesting as Sprint is slated to start their network densification plan, which likely involves a number of small cells and other solutions to add capacity to their network. Many tower companies are expecting AT&T to start ramping up spending next year, to add capacity and improve their network, as expected.