Tower Firms Unite


Tower operator Crown Castle International, which plans to launch a mobile television service in the U.S., has bulked up significantly with its $5.8 billion acquisition of competitor Global Signal.

Crown Castle is acquiring Global Signal for $4 billion in stock and cash and assuming $1.8 billion in debt. The new company will have over 24,000 wireless sites and command 76% of tower site rental revenues from the four largest U.S. wireless carriers, with annual revenues of $1.2 billion.

In addition to its core business of leasing tower capacity to wireless operators like Verizon and Sprint Nextel, Crown Castle is attempting to develop a new revenue stream with Modeo, a planned mobile television service based on the DVB-H transmission standard. Crown Castle has been building a mobile TV transmission network for Modeo in the New York City market, though it hasn't launched commercially. Crown Castle has indicated that it could have mobile TV networks operational in the top 30 markets by the end of 2007.