We got a bit more detail on Verizon’s 5G deployment plans yesterday. Crown Castle has announced an expanded long term relationship with the telecommunications giant to supply small cells in support of Verizon’s next generation network.
More specifically, Verizon has committed to lease 15,000 new small cell sites from Crown Castle over the next four years. Once in place, those sites will have 10-year leases. Now, 15K small cells is certainly a solid chunk, and it’s an average of 300 per state, but clearly this deal is just one small piece of the puzzle. But it’s nevertheless substantial relative to Crown’s small cell business, which has something like 70K either deployed or under contract not including this deal.
The release didn’t say, but the 15K small cells for Verizon will likely be clustered in dense pockets within Crown markets beyond Verizon’s ILEC/FIOS territories — perhaps down in Florida and Texas and out in the Midwest. Crown’s small cell infrastructure is powered by a fiber network that was assembled from a series of acquisitions, the largest of which was Sunesys. Those deals have slowed down over the past couple of years, but if their small cell business starts kicking into high gear, Crown could find itself with a renewed appetite for supporting infrastructure.
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