Nearly 10,000 cell towers could be up for sale; AT&T planning to lease back what it sells
Reports today indicate that AT&T is considering a sale of its cell towers to other companies for upwards of $5 billion in order to fund other initiatives in the company. According to sources of Bloomberg, AT&T is partnering up with financial firms TAP Advisors LLC and JPMorgan Chase to explore the merits of selling off the 10,000 cell towers the carrier owns in the US.
These towers currently generate about $326 million in annual revenue from roaming and leasing agreements for AT&T, but reports indicate that an all-out sale of the towers could net it up to $5 billion. The expected buyers of so many towers are expected to be some of the largest tower operators in the country such as American Tower and Crown Castle.
Now a sale of the towers by AT&T doesn't mean that customers will lose coverage area, however. The structure of such agreements usually involves a sale of the physical tower sites as well as an agreement to lease back the use of the towers for its network. Similar deals from T-Mobile in the past netted the company $2.4 billion in 2012, and a similar move by AT&T could give it extra cash it needs to further its other initiatives.