Crown Castle International expects to put 5,000 small cells on air in 2022, a similar level compared to the previous year, the company’s CFO Daniel Schlanger recently said at Citi’s AppsEconomy Virtual Conference.

The executive noted that the company expects the firm will be able to increase the number of small cells on air even further, from about 2023 onward.

“We believe that what will happen is, with this agreement [with T-Mobile US] and with the Verizon agreement that we have, there is not going to be a significant change to 2022, but going into 2023 and beyond, we believe we will have a significant increase in the amount of small cells that we put on air,” the executive said.

“And we have been at around 10,000 small cells on air. We think we can get to that and then above that over time given the amount of demand that we see in the market and the fact that we are getting the majority of that third-party demand,” he added.

Earlier this month, T-Mobile US and Crown Castle International had signed a new 12-year agreement to support the continued build-out of T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network with increased access to Crown Castle’s towers and small cell locations.

Under the terms of the agreement, which includes 35,000 small cells, T-Mobile US will further expand the reach of 5G network to serve consumers across the U.S. while also realizing financial synergies following its merger.

“When we look out, we don’t see anybody who has anywhere close to 50,000 nodes in their entirety of their business that’s a third-party provider and we’ve signed that much in the last 12 months. We just think that positions us really well to continue to be the supplier of choice going forward in the small-cell business. And then with these agreements we have in place now, we will be able to get back to and above the 10,000 nodes per year in ’23 and beyond, but we also think it’s just the first wave of what we think will be a continued investment in small cells over a long period of time,” Schlanger added.

Crown Castle owns, operates and leases more than 40,000 cell towers and approximately 80,000 route miles of fiber supporting small cells and fiber solutions across every major U.S. market.

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