American Tower Puts Vendors on Notice

Inside Towers reported in November, that AT&T and Verizon were partnering with a new vendor, Tillman Infrastructure, to build out sites (AT&T, Verizon Plot New Towers to Avoid Traditional Leases). Verizon Chief Network Officer said at the time, they were reviewing all of their long-term contracts as they come up for renewal “and we are excited to develop new vendor partners to diversify our infrastructure providers.”  Now the “Tillman effect,” as some are calling it, may be having an impact on the major towercos.

American Tower sent out a memo, obtained by Inside Towers, to vendors, stating they are not to participate, “in the development of any new towers that are within a half mile of an existing ATC site.” The memo, reportedly issued by American Tower Supply Chain Director Jared Morley, goes on to say they think their request is “fair, reasonable and straightforward.”  Neither Morley nor an American spokesperson was available for comment.

One middle-tier tower owner on the eastern seaboard, who wished to remain nameless, told Inside Towers, “While I understand that the big tower companies and the carriers are experiencing a lot of friction at this time, this seems to be an attempt to use the little people as cannon fodder.  It appears this letter was issued to every AMT approved contractor across the county – regardless if they work for AMT or only are approved to work on their towers,” he said.  “While we don’t want to step into the middle of the fray, if these contractors sign the amendment, developers such as ourselves will be denied the ability to do business with the available contractor pool to build and or operate our infrastructure.  For example, we have several in-building DAS projects that we are about to award contracts for and our selected contractor for those projects is faced with this issue.”

He found some fault on “both sides of the fence” and felt the situation damaging to the industry.  He expressed hope that the trade associations and others could provide a calming influence.  “We are so fortunate we are to have this industry to call “home,” he said.

June 12, 2018

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