T-Mobile and Crown Castle International announced today that they have inked an agreement regarding T-Mobile’s cellular network towers. Under the deal, Crown Castle will pay T-Mobile $2.4 billion and acquire the rights to around 7,200 T-Mobile towers for approximately 28 years. Crown Castle will have exclusive rights to lease and operate the towers during that time.
“We are very pleased with our agreement with T-Mobile, which strengthens our position as the largest provider of shared wireless infrastructure in the US, which we believe is the largest, fastest growing and most profitable wireless market in the world,” said Ben Moreland, Crown Castle president and CEO. “Consistent with our focus on the top 100 US markets, the T-Mobile towers are similarly well-located, with 83% of the towers in the top 100 markets and 72% located in the top 50 markets. The T-Mobile assets are expected to provide significant growth driven by the continued demand for wireless data services, particularly in the most densely populated areas in the US. While this transaction increases our tower count by approximately 33%, the transaction consideration represents only approximately 9% of our enterprise value. Further, we expect the impact from the contemplated transaction and related expected debt financing to be accretive to our 2013 adjusted funds from operations per share and approximately 5% accretive to our long-term adjusted funds from operations per share.”
The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2012. As Moreland mentioned, Crown Castle will finance the deal with cash on hand and with debt financing. The company is currently the largest wireless infrastructure operator in the U.S., operating around 30,000 towers.
T-Mobile subscribers will be unaffected by today’s deal. The telecom company has committed to maintain its communications facilities on the Crown Castle towners for a minimun of 10 years.
“We are pleased to reach this mutually beneficial agreement with Crown Castle and take another step closer to realizing the bold vision outlined in our ‘Challenger’ strategy to solidify our competitiveness in the industry by investing in areas where we anticipate the strongest return for our customers,” said John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile USA. “T-Mobile USA is working aggressively to make our 4G network stronger, faster and more dependable for consumers, and this transaction will support our ongoing $4 billion network modernization initiative that is the cornerstone of this effort as we work tirelessly to continue to deliver our amazing 4G services nationwide.”