Comcast Creates Cell Tower Business
A unit of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has formed a separate company dedicated to managing hundreds of cell towers and leasing space to wireless service providers.
Comcast Ventures , the company's venture capital arm, has created CTI Towers Inc. , a unit headquartered in Franklin, Mass., that's getting off the ground with about 800 towers in 39 states that were previously owned by other Comcast Cable subsidiaries.
CTI's website notes that it is already leasing space to several wireless service providers, including AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), T-Mobile US Inc. , MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) and Leap Wireless International Inc. (Nasdaq: LEAP), alongside some unnamed broadcasters (Comcast owns NBCUniversal LLC ), municipalities and utility companies.
Comcast has tapped Anthony Peduto, late of Optasite Inc. and American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT), as CTI Towers's CEO.
Comcast isn't disclosing CTI Towers's current revenue run rate or how many people it employs, but the site lists two other execs: SVP of Sales Sonny Peterman, a former Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and American Tower exec; and General Counsel Carrie Larson. It's also hiring.
Why this matters
Comcast is consolidating its tower business as wireless carriers ratchet up their Long Term Evolution (LTE) network buildout plans in anticipation of increasing use of streaming video and other high-bandwidth apps on mobile devices.
The new company will also consolidate the ownership and operations of cell towers that have previously been handled by Comcast's individual cable systems. Putting all of that under the CTI Towers and having a team dedicated to managing those assets should improve the operational efficiencies of the towers.
The creation of CTI Towers also puts Comcast squarely into a large cell tower market. But it's clearly a mid-tier player. According to Wireless Estimator , Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI) leads in the U.S. with more than 22,251 towers, followed by American Tower (21,644), AT&T Towers (10,312), and SBA Communications (9,290).
Read more about cable's recent wireless activities.
- Cable May Plow More Cash Into Clearwire
- Does Cable Have a Wireless Plan B?
- Cox: We're Not Selling Our Spectrum
- TW Cable Stays in Wireless Holding Pattern
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable