Reports from various Inside Towers sources have confirmed that T-Mobile, at least in several major markets, has put new builds on hold and has asked contractors to put off invoicing into 2020. Citing the delayed merger with Sprint as the major factor, one industry executive said small contractors working for the carrier will, “feel the pain.” T-Mobile was unavailable for comment.
The carrier late last week sent out emails to tower construction companies and contractors informing them that T-Mobile will solely concentrate on 5G-related PO’s and non-5G-related work will be paid at 120 days and not the normal payment terms which vary by contractor company.
“Additionally, these companies are being asked to supply materials (in many cases $15K to $20K per job), pay for cranes up front, and then they can only mark those up five percent,” said one contractor who wished to remain anonymous.
A source who spoke with a T-Mobile market manager said all Form 1099 employees in the Mid-Atlantic region have been let go, while construction in the Carolinas and Florida has been slowed to a virtual halt until the end of the year.
“They just asked all contractors to commit to additional crews, then Friday shut it all down. I’m sure this will put some tower contractors out of business,” a contractor told Inside Towers. “I think they overspent early in ’19 assuming the merger would have happened by now. Now, they realize it won’t happen this year, so they’ve blown the budget and need to pause. Our other carriers seem to be at full speed ahead. Not sure if it’s happening in other states,” he said.
By Jim Fryer, Managing Editor, Inside Towers
August 29, 2019