AT&T is currently operating 5,180 cell towers in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as approximately 3,590 rooftop sites throughout the United States. The following are some of the directions that we see AT&T pursuing in 2017:
- AT&T will continue to grow its tower portfolio at a moderate pace, but will still continue to lag behind Verizon, the current leader in new cell tower development. Development will be focused in the southeastern and northeastern United States.
- AT&T is placing focus on the expansion of small cell technology and distributed antenna systems (DAS) in order to meet data demands. This direction provides interesting opportunities for commercial property owners, municipalities, and universities.
- AT&T will continue to pursue large-scale lease renewals via its “Rent Optimization” programs; however, this is only optimal for AT&T. Know the “True Value” of your cell tower lease before making any decisions regarding your AT&T lease.
- AT&T will continue to use third-party vendors specialized in pressuring property owners to extend their lease based upon subtle lease termination threats. Do not sign anything until you know the real risk of termination.
- Due to rapid advancements in technology and large growth in data demands, AT&T will be reaching out with requests to modify their equipment. Know the real value to AT&T of any requested modifications before you approve any modifications.