AT&T and Verizon have entered into a new agreement with Tillman Infrastructure in an effort to build out their respective networks cooperatively. According to the joint project’s announcement, Tillman will take responsibility for construction of hundreds of new towers, while the two service providers have agreed to co-anchoring and leasing the towers. More directly, the towers are planned for areas where there are currently no towers at all, although there have been no details provided with regard to specific locations or time-frames for locations. However, the work itself is set to start during the first quarter of 2018, with engineers turning the towers on immediately following their construction. That should allow for the carriers to deliver better communication and data to customers in new markets across the U.S. as well as sharing the costs associated with new infrastructure.
Aside from the obvious implications of both providers having hundreds of new cell sites at their disposal, representatives from both service providers seem to indicate that the decision to partner with Tillman is also part of a concerted effort to increase competition among tower and cell site infrastructure companies themselves. Specifically, both companies cite a need to expand and diversify their infrastructure provider profiles. They go further to point out that it is not cost-effective or sustainable to simply continue using the same infrastructure providers year after year, adding that diversification should create competition and help drive lower costs across the board. That should prove useful for both companies following this year’s stiff competition amongst service providers leading to less than stellar quarterly reports.
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In the meantime, until either AT&T or Verizon announces where the towers will be located, there’s no way of knowing for sure which areas of the U.S. can expect to benefit from the new towers and expanded access to services. Tillman has also indicated that the new towers will allow both carriers to “further develop the cell tower model of the future.” That seems to hint that the towers will feature the latest advancements in cell-cite technologies but that really shouldn’t be altogether too surprising. It would make financial sense for the companies to incorporate technologies in a way that alleviate the need to retrofit those towers at any point in the near future.