With its FirstNet build up to bat and 5G in the wings, AT&T is expanding its relationship with Crown Castle as part of its infrastructure plans. The two have signed a new agreement streamlining leasing management and operations and the overall scope of the deal.
The new agreement covers small cell deployments as well as traditional towers, establishing a market-based framework to make everything work more smoothly. AT&T will be needing plenty of infrastructure over the next few years as it builds out capacity and network depty for the next generation of demand.
Of course Crown Castle's relationship with all its carrier customers has evolved rather substantially over the last few years as the company has rolled up a good piece of the fiber backhaul sector, culminating in last year's Lightower purchase. Crown Castle's footprint today spans 40K towers and 60K route miles of fiber, but there is still plenty of geography they could expand into organically if the opportunity arises.