American Tower Corporation : Unparalleled In-Building Wireless Connectivity

 Tom Bartlett, CEO, American Tower Corporation Tom Bartlett, CEO
A s the world continues to become an increasingly connected society, cellular coverage in facilities has transitioned from “nice-to-have” to joining the ranks of electric, gas, and water as the fourth utility. Today mobile users, whether inside buildings or in large outdoor public venues, seek strong signals and bandwidth to access information everywhere, yet enterprises often suffer from the pervasive problem of weak network coverage. When it comes to delivering wireless coverage indoor and outdoor, the extensive area to be covered and the large number of people using the network weakens connectivity. This proves detrimental to business productivity and explains the need for reliable in-building wireless (IBW) coverage via small cell and distributed antenna systems (DAS) technologies.

The blend of DAS and small cells brings dual connectivity, coordinated multipoint to allow more users to enjoy video streaming, access to cloud-based storage, and more. Not to mention, small cell and DAS are the key infrastructures to enable 5G, especially top-speed highband 5G, and represent future revenue potential and competitive advantage for providers. However, companies often face significant implementation challenges when bringing wireless indoors. Moreover, finding the right solution for the increasing demands of wireless coverage in their building stays a challenge for enterprises. This is where American Tower Corporation [NYSE: AMT] excels. As a leading global wireless communications infrastructure provider—American Tower is perfectly poised to help enterprises overcome and address the challenges around improving inbuilding wireless connectivity. The company is a leading independent owner, operator, and developer of multitenant communications real estate with a portfolio of approximately 183,000 communications sites. As one of the largest Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in the country, American Tower has the financial strength and scale to support all building and venue wireless communications needs. With its solutions and services, the company lays the foundation to achieve the best possible wireless experience, delivering the performance property owners demand and wireless service providers expect.

Bridging the Gaps in Wireless Coverage

American Tower is renowned for offering wireless network solutions that completely resolve building and venue connectivity issues. The company provides the fiber-rich, 5G-enabled managed infrastructure needed to deliver the best possible wireless experience throughout any building or venue—from offices and hotels to the largest sports, entertainment, and retail destinations. With a diverse offering of communications sites, including Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), towers and managed sites, and a suite of professional services, American Tower helps wireless service providers expand their coverage—even in today’s most challenging environments. As a neutral-host provider in the in-building and outdoor DAS spaces, American Tower has completed and now owns and operates more multitenant installations than anyone else in the country. With exclusive rights to more than 1,000 properties, including malls, casinos, hotels, hospitals, and arenas, companies can count on American Tower’s expertise to deliver superior coverage solutions to its customers. With in-building and outdoor system solutions, American Tower provides access to coverage where traditional systems have been unsuccessful due to difficult zoning, cost constraints, or other barriers to entry.

On the other hand, American Tower offers its building and venue Small Cells solution, which is a flexible and scalable network solution for any size venue. In fact, to prepare for the 2018 NCAA® Basketball Tournament, INTRUST Bank Arena® approached American Tower to deploy a small cells infrastructure that improved the in-building wireless experience for fans drastically.

New Routes for 5G with In-Building Networks

In December 2020, American Tower finally announced that it is acquiring InSite Wireless Group, LLC (“InSite”)—which owns, operates, and manages nearly 3,000 communications sites primarily in the U.S. and Canada.

This transaction augments our foundational U.S. business through the addition of a wellrun, high-quality, complementary, macro-tower focused portfolio, while also marking our entry into Canada

The portfolio includes over 1,400 owned towers in the U.S., more than 200 owned towers in Canada, and approximately 70 distributed antenna system (“DAS”) networks in the U.S. Tom Bartlett, CEO at American Tower, states, “This transaction augments our foundational U.S. business through the addition of a well-run, high-quality, complementary, macro-tower focused portfolio, while also marking our entry into Canada. We believe that these assets are positioned to enhance our organic growth and cash flow trajectory in the future as 5G deployments accelerate and densification initiatives progress.”

During 2020’s third quarter, American Tower spent approximately $101 million to acquire 305 communications sites, primarily in international markets, including 195 communications sites in France as part of its previously announced agreement with Orange. There is also no doubt that 5G is poised to bring innovation to supply chains through massive IoT capabilities, enable advanced artificial intelligence applications as well as augmented and virtual reality experiences at scale to improve operational efficiencies and reinvent workflows. To expand network capacity, providers are packing more cell sites into specific geographic areas, and small cell and DAS (distributed antenna system) are being overlaid to supplement current coverage and capacity. In a recent conference call with investors, Bartlett broadly highlighted the business opportunities American Tower witnesses in the 5G space. “As 5G and the overall surrounding ecosystem develops in the U.S. and this network technology advances throughout our international footprint, we expect to have compelling opportunities to extend our core value proposition into new, related, accretive product and service offerings. Through this, we aim to expand our total addressable market,” says Bartlett.

Proven Industry Expertise and Solutions

With around 20 years of experience providing wireless infrastructures for buildings and venues, American Tower offers solutions to deliver wireless coverage indoors as well as outdoors. The company’s professional services team performs needs analysis, installation, testing, monitoring, and ongoing maintenance. One of the major breakthroughs for the company in the 5G domain stems from their DAS that can be used to design and build 5G in-building networks. The multiple benefits of this short-range network solution can be perfectly illustrated through the story of how American Tower has been turning NASCAR race days into an ultimate fan experience.

NASCAR’s organizers, International Speedway Corporation (ISC), wanted to bring better wireless connectivity at the race tracks for further engaging the live audience while providing fans with heart-pumping, highenergy thrills of the motorsport. To this end, American Tower installed its DAS offering to amplify the facility’s network coverage. With these installations at NASCAR tracks, the company eradicated the thorny problem of poor network coverage and ensured wireless connectivity was possible even in the remotest corners of the stadium. This makeover dramatically improved the fan experience as well as proved beneficial to many other people at the facility operations team and the NASCAR broadcast teams who needed to communicate wirelessly at any given time using two-way radios. Consequently, the company’s well-rounded wireless network solution significantly enriched the experience for NASCAR fans and the race’s management team alike.

Over the years, American Tower has become a renowned name in the industry, scripting several such success stories. Today, the company can manage over 400 networks in offices, malls, campuses, hospitals, airports, resorts, casinos, and other venues. Backed by proven methods, the company is now also gearing its offerings to help more clients meet the new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. With remote work being the new norm, the importance of high-speed internet has started becoming more apparent. Through its portfolio of robust solutions, American Tower is ensuring seamless wireless connections wherever required. The company is committed to ensuring its communications real estate— approximately 180,000 sites in 19 countries across five continents—supports the wireless voice and broadband networks that keep it connected. American Tower is also investing in enhancing its services by incorporating new wireless technologies. As an essential service provider, the company is at the forefront of providing the infrastructure necessary to support the growing demand for wireless services around the globe.
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Top 10 Small Cell and DAS Solution Companies - 2021

Company
American Tower Corporation

Headquarters
Boston, MA

Management
Tom Bartlett, CEO

Description
American Tower Corporation [NYSE: AMT] is a leading global wireless communications infrastructure provider