The firm aims to deploy between 10,000 and 15,000 small cells this year

Crown Castle expects to deploy approximately 20,000 small cell nodes in 2020 and beyond, CEO Jay Brown said during a conference call with investors.

The executive also confirmed that the company aims to deploy between 10,000 and 15,000 small cells this year. Last year, Crown Castle had put nearly 7,000 small cell nodes on air, Brown said.

“Since it typically takes about 18 to 24 months for contracted nodes to be put on-air and start generating revenue, we have a line of sight into meaningful small cell revenue growth beyond 2019,” the executive said.

“I see a long runway of growth in front of Crown Castle as our customers continue to invest heavily in their 4G networks to keep pace with data demand growth from existing technologies, while the deployment of 5G is just getting started,” Brown added.

Brown also highlighted that the company sees growing business opportunities in the 5G field as the U.S. market “will lead the way on 5G.”

The executive said that most of the activity in the small cells segment continues to be concentrated in the top 30 markets in the United States.

“We have fiber plant in many, if not all, of those markets now, or we’re in the process of constructing it. The pipeline of nodes that we’re deploying and we’ll put on air in 2019 ,as well as our contracted backlog at this point, is mostly focused on those top 30 markets,” Brown added.

He also said that the company is not looking to acquire fiber as a way to expand beyond the country’s top 30 markets.

“As we look at markets even beyond the top 30, we don’t see acquisitions as a likely outcome for any meaningful amount of the fiber that we may want to own. We think it’s more likely that we’re going to end up having to build it,” Brown said.


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