Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Volume 2 | Issue 133
Verizon Wireless Heads to Court Sometimes wireless carriers will let certain zoning denials go without a fight, but not this time. Verizon Wireless is suing the town of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, alleging that the Zoning Board of Appeals was in the wrong when it denied the company permits to install wireless communications equipment on a water tower that is no longer used for water storage and hasn’t been since 2007. The Press Herald reported, “In a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland, Verizon claims that Cape Elizabeth’s zoning board violated federal law and a town ordinance when it denied the company building permits to hang wireless equipment on a Portland Water District tower.” The town now has three weeks to file a rebuttal to the complaint – which will happen, according to Town Manager Michael McGovern. “The zoning board felt comfortable with the code enforcement officer’s interpretation of the ordinance,” McGovern said Thursday. “It will be the town’s position to defend the zoning board’s decision.” (Source: The Press Herald) “Providing adequate service is a challenge in Cape Elizabeth as the town has one of the most restrictive local telecommunications ordinances in the state,” Verizon states in its civil suit. The complaint goes on to say that the water tower would not need to be enlarged, that it won’t be lit, and that wireless equipment will be covered with a shroud. “Operation of the facility will not result in any significant impacts to abutters or to the neighborhood,” the suit says.
FCC to Experiment with Rural Broadband Expansion The FCC announced that they would begin experiments to explore how robust broadband can be expanded at lower cost in rural America. According to the FCC, “The experiments will inform the agency’s broader effort to expand rural broadband through its Connect America Fund. They [the experiments] will also inform the FCC’s efforts to ensure that consumers everywhere can benefit from the sweeping technological advances occurring now in the communications industry, while preserving consumer protection, competition, universal service and access to emergency services during these transitions.” These experiments will also test the service over wireless networks. Carriers and tower companies have been working to build out their infrastructure to bring the most rural areas in the country wireless service. The FCC’s initial announcement of rural broadband experiments in January received an enthusiastic response in the form of over 1,000 expressions of interest from a Inside Towers
wide range of entities proposing service over diverse technologies. Final applications for the experiments are due 90 days after release of the FCC order, with selection expected by the end of 2014. Verizon Added 1.4 Million Subscribers Last Quarter Verizon Communications Inc. added 1.4 million contract subscribers in the second quarter, Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam said. “We think this is going to be a great quarter for us,” McAdam said in an interview on CNBC from the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. He was referring to the period that ended in June. “We had record tablet growth, we had very good churn and we delivered margins that were consistent with the last several quarters.” (Source: Bloomberg) With the race between mobile carriers heating up at an exponential rate, these mass amounts of new subscribers could mean more towers to manage capacity. The subscriber gain exceeds the 900,000 estimate of John Hodulik, an analyst at UBS AG. Cell Signal Boosters Play a Key Role in Remote POS Systems In 2013, the number of cellular M2M (Machine to Machine) connections in the retail industry was greater than 18 million connections (According to market researcher Berg Insight.) Included in that number are POS terminals, vending machines and ATMs. While POS terminals account for almost 90% of the cellular M2M device market right now, vending machines, according to Berg Insight, represent "the largest untapped market for wireless M2M in the retail industry." In a bit more detail, M2M refers to the use of cell data cards / embedded cell gateways to connect the machine to a host network. According to Berg Insight, only 7.4% of the 6 million vending machines in North America are currently connected. However, that number is expected to almost triple to 1.14 million by 2018, and will continue to increase. Of course, one factor that limits the effectiveness of any M2M-enabled machine is one we can all relate to: cell coverage. Despite what the network carriers tell us, strong cell service is never a given, especially inside buildings where many vending machines are located. However, cell signal boosters can play a key role in these devices. Continue reading here. Tower Joint Venture Could Stall China Mobile’s 4G Progress A new joint telecom infrastructure company established by China Mobile and its two smaller rivals could undermine the mobile giant’s first-mover advantage in the speedier fourthgeneration mobile services that China Mobile is betting on to turn around its operations, the Wall Street Journal reported. Last week, the Chinese telecom operators announced that they would be working together to set up a joint infrastructure company to build and operate towers in order to cut costs for each company since they’ll be able to share the towers instead of renting space. The Wall Street Journal reported, “China Mobile owns 40% of the newly established firm, while China Unicom is taking a 30.1% stake and China Telecom holds 29.9%. The three carriers are considering the injection of certain telecommunications assets into the joint venture, they said in a statement though they didn’t give more specific details. All three carriers said the new joint venture will help save capital expenditure and increase investment returns. Analysts said it would be less favorable for China Mobile as smaller players China Unicom and China Telecom could potentially expand their network coverage quickly by sharing China Mobile’s bigger pool of telecommunication assets. China Mobile owns 350,000 telecom towers and its smaller rivals China Unicom and China Telecom run 150,000 towers and 100,000 towers Inside Towers
respectively, according to Goldman Sachs.” North American Test & Measurement Market to Be Worth $1.9 Billion By 2018 In case you haven’t noticed, the fastest growing mobile tech right now is LTE. Therefore, it doesn’t take much thought to realize that the products that support the growth and expansion of LTE would be growing as well. According to the latest report by MicroMarket Monitor, the North American Communications Test and Measurement market is estimated to grow from $1.4 billion in 2013 to $1.9 billion in 2018, at an expected CAGR of 6.0% for the period between 2013 and 2018. This is slightly higher than the Europe Communications Test and Measurement market, which is estimated to grow from $0.8 billion in 2013 to $1.3 billion in 2018, at an expected CAGR of 9.0% for the period between 2013 and 2018.
Seeking Alpha: American Tower Maintains Growth Potential The analysts at Seeking Alpha reiterated why they are bullish on American Tower Corporation, “As telecom and media companies continue to invest in infrastructure, network enhancement and expansion, AMT will benefit from this scenario. Also, AMT's revenue base is secured due to its promising, non-cancellable lease contracts. Moreover, the company is ramping up its merger and acquisition efforts to meet the growth potentials of emerging international markets, which will portend well for its top-line growth in the long run. However, in the near future, the company's plan to acquire BR Towers may put a burden on the company's cash flows. However, AMT's history of generating stable revenues and strong AFFO, signals that cash flows in the long term will remain secure. Moreover, AMT's debt maturity profile ensures that the company's cash flows will not be pressurized due to repayment of debt in the future.” Inside Towers
William H. Hess Sells 80,000 Shares of American Tower Stock American Tower EVP William H. Hess unloaded 80,000 shares of the company’s stock on the open market in a transaction dated Wednesday, July 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $90.45, for a total transaction of $7,236,000.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 47,445 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,291,400. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link.
Local Massachusetts Town Postpones Cell Tower Hearing A hearing in Wrentham on a cell tower was recently postponed because the attending crowd was too large for the meeting room at the Town Hall. The controversial issue is a special permit and variance so AT&T can erect a communications tower the firm says it needs to fill gaps in cell phone coverage in the area. The proposed location is in a residential zone and neighbors said the 100-foot tower would stand above any area trees, hurt the aesthetics of the area, and reduce property values. Some wanted the meeting postponed until September, when everyone will be back from summer break. Zoning board Chairman Gregory Sexton explained that September is too late because a hearing must be held within a prescribed time frame or the application for a special permit and zoning variance will be approved “by default.” Sexton said the hearing would be held at 8 p.m. July 23 at the fire station, which has a bigger hall. He apologized to the approximately 80 residents who turned out to oppose the tower proposed by AT&T, but many were unhappy with the change. Virginia County Considering Tower on School Property At a recent meeting, Chairman John Lesinski informed those in attendance that the Rappahannock County School Board has been offered a deal by Community Wireless Services to place a monopole on school property. The proposal, Lesinski said, includes a 10-year lease, with up to four additional 10-year renewals. Lesinski said Community Wireless is also requesting up to 24 months to secure carriers. Unlike the major cell phone companies, Community Wireless is not an exclusive carrier; Lesinski said the company would approach major carriers like Verizon, Sprint and AT&T about carrying their signals if the lease is approved. Community Wireless will be making its pitch, formally and publicly, at 7 pm Tuesday (July 15) in the high school band room. The meeting is open to all and will include a public comment period. AT&T Faces Rough Reception For Residential Tower Proposal in Massachusetts There’s a headline you’ve never seen on Inside Towers before! Local residents who oppose a cell tower proposal. All joking aside, AT&T’s proposal for a cell tower near a residential community in Hatfield was ill-received by the 50 residents who attended a recent Planning Board meeting. The proposed 120 foot monopole would fill a significant gap in coverage and could support up to three carriers said Michael Dolan, an attorney representing AT&T. Many residents asked why AT&T was trying to place the tower in a residential zone rather than an industrial zone. According to Dolan, AT&T had approached a local grocer and food bank with a proposal to install a tower at one of those locations. “Neither one of those business expressed an interest,” Dolan said. Suzanne Bartlett was present at the meeting and urged the board to accept the proposal, saying it not only meets all of the criteria required by the town’s bylaws, but additional cellular coverage would benefit the town. After Inside Towers
nearly two hours of discussion, the Planning Board decided to continue the hearing at a later date in order to allow both sides to bring in conclusive materials to support their arguments. “There is just too much unknown information here that needs to be studied before we can make a decision,” board member Gregory Winters said.
New Haven, Connecticut Residents Reject Cell Tower On City Hall At a recent town meeting, local residents rejected a proposal from AT&T to allow a concealed cell tower on top of Clinton’s landmark Andrews Memorial Town Hall. The plan had been unanimously approved by selectmen, and was approved for consideration by the town meeting by the Planning and Zoning Commission, but was voted down in an unusually well-attended town meeting by a 47 to 23 vote of residents, according to Town Clerk Sharon Uricchio. First Selectman William Fritz said the proposal, created by site development firm Smartlink LLC for AT&T’s cellular service, called for construction of a “brick penthouse” without a roof that would contain the cellular antennas. Fritz said the structure was designed to appear as part of the auditorium building, and the lease to AT&T would have produced $40,000 in annual revenue for the town. “It’s our job to look for additional sources of revenue, and we thought this was a good arrangement,” he said. Residents, however, were opposed to its addition to the historic Town Hall, which was completed in 1938 and — with its classic facade and marble and gilt embellishments — is considered one of the finest municipal buildings on the shoreline. “That’s fine,” Fritz said of the result, while regretting the loss of the revenue.
The Rise of NexTower By Eleanor Snite David Boeff has a passion for the tower industry. "It's not just about the money," the CEO of NexTower, located in Northwestern St. Johns County in Florida, said. "You build a lot of good relationships, it's a very, very niche industry." Boeff started out in the industry in the days of two-way radios and pagers working for Motorola and was there for 18 years. In 1994 he founded Gator Tower Management, and three years later he left to work for TowerCom. During his time at TowerCom he was an equity partner and held the position of vice president, executive vice president and then CEO. In February of this year, he left TowerCom and started his own company, NexTower. "I was fat, dumb and happy at TowerCom, they were good to me," Boeff said. "But I wanted something new, I wanted my own company. I was an entrepreneur, and I didn't know it." Boeff said his relationship with TowerCom is still good, and he's even working on some projects with them. Over the 36 years he has been in the industry, Boeff has worked with many subcontractors. When he finds good ones, he locks on to them and has an extensive network of service providers availInside Towers
able. When he left TowerCom in February, Boeff hit the ground running. He is currently pursuing eight new builds, including the fast-growing Nocatee area in Northeast Florida. He has letters of intent for buying four towers, is negotiating five ground leases and has agreements with seven condo building rooftops. All together, Boeff estimates he is working on a total of 50 projects. NexTower's focus is on Florida and Atlanta for now and he is looking to add experienced project management personnel. But Boeff is building his vendor relationships to extend NexTower’s reach nationally. In five years, he expects to have $5 million annual cash flow making the company valued in excess of $100M. "I have a good reputation in the tower industry and am extremely thankful for that," Boeff said. "I want to grow but never want to lose that. I always want to be knowledgeable about each tower - able to tell its story to you."
H&P Announces New FlashGuard 3000B Medium Intensity Dual Lighting System H&P’s FlashGuard 3000B Medium Intensity Dual Lighting System combines a daytime white strobe light and nighttime red flashing strobe into a single flashhead. The flashhead is powered and controlled by a power supply that can be mounted remotely at the base of the structure. The power supply features a fail-safe monitoring system with up to five remote alarm contacts. The system automatically switches between day and night intensities by the use of a calibrated photocell, and incorporates a light blocking strip that minimized ground scatter light, resulting in a “community friendly” lighting system. System is designed for structures between 150’ and 500’ above ground level.
Super Mobility Week Convenes Wireless Titans and Experts to Engage with Attendees on Our Mobile Lives The keynote speakers and panelists have been announced for Super Mobility Week in Las Vegas on September 8th-11th: CTIA Chairman and Verizon Wireless President and CEO Dan Mead; Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes; AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph de la Vega; Ericsson SVP and CTO Ulf Ewaldsson; ESPN Sales and Marketing EVP Sean Bratches; ESPN Digital and Print Media EVP John Kosner; Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler; General Motors President of Global Connected Consumer Mary Chan; Lookout CEO Jim Dolce; Microsoft EVP of the Devices Group Stephen Elop; NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France; SAP CEO Bill McDermott; Sprint Corporation CEO Dan Hesse; Tesla Motors Business Development VP Diarmuid O’Connell; Twilio CEO and Co-Founder Jeff Lawson; VoiceBox Co-founder and CEO Mike Kennewick; and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. Broken into three categories, Connected Life, Innovation and Intelligent Networks, the CTIA MobileTalks education sessions are interactive and fast-paced to provide attendees with a behind-thescenes look at what’s next in the wireless industry. Most speakers are C-level executives and innovators from prestigious companies including ABC News, Alcatel-Lucent, App Annie, AT&T, Cisco, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, Ericsson, Facebook, Food and Drug Administration, Ford, Google, Intel, Khosla Ventures, McAfee, Nokia Growth Partners, Oracle, Pandora, Qualcomm, Samsung, SocialRadar, Syniverse, Telus, Time Warner Cable Media, Waze and Zipwhip. Inside Towers