After a two-week hiatus from the tower business, North Carolina’s TowerCo is investing $45.5 million in 119 towers in the Midwest. TowerCo’s deal with Iowa Wireless includes a five-year exclusive build-to-suit agreement and an option to buy future towers from IWS. “We like doing carrier deals and this was a carrier deal,” says TowerCo CEO Richard Byrne. “We really like the management team, and my wife is from Iowa so I am familiar with the market.”
The deal could be the first of many for TowerCo, flush with cash from its October 1 sale of all 3,252 of its towers to SBA Communications for $1.45 billion. Byrne says he’s ready to look for new opportunities and will consider acquisitions anywhere in the country. Digesting the Iowa Wireless towers will be “a piece of cake,” he says, noting that a few years ago his company acquired 3,000 towers from Sprint Nextel within 60 days.
During the two weeks between TowerCo’s deals, Sprint Nextel announced its sale to Softbank, and T-Mobile USA said it will merge with MetroPCS. Byrne says carrier consolidation is a “double-edged sword. On one hand you worry about the fact that there are less potential tenants, but the carriers left are much stronger and they do more.”
Byrne does not expect the Sprint-Softbank deal to impact Sprint’s network vision significantly since Softbank is not a player in the U.S. market. He says the T-Mobile USA-MetroPCS merger could be a little trickier, since the two companies are in several of the same markets, and in some cases are on the same tower.
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