Wireless: Full Speed Ahead

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The wireless carriers seem to be moving full speed ahead with their network enhancements, build outs, and small cell deployments. This was made clear during American Tower’s third quarter earnings release last week noting their domestic and international growth was attributed to carrier network investment. “Elevated wireless CapEx spend in the U.S. led to strong growth in the quarter and wireless network initiatives by large multinational carriers in our other markets allowed us to post solid results internationally as well. As a result, we are raising our full year 2014 outlook for all of our key metrics,” Tom Bartlett, Executive Vice President and CFO at American Tower, explained. Management also noted that they were open to future acquisitions and that this aspect has really done well for the company. “The combination of organic growth for operational excellence and inorganic growth through acquisitions and construction programs have worked we think really well for the company during this whole period of time,” Jim Taiclet, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, explained. “So our management team focuses on optimizing the returns on our existing assets on generating maximum cash flow from those assets and then reinvesting that cash flow augmented by what we call appropriate leverage levels. And so we are constantly evaluating the opportunity set of acquisitions as we have already talked about and seeking attractive construction opportunities with the goal of investing in our business whenever it meets our discipline decision criteria.” Jennifer Fritzsche, Senior Analyst at Wells Fargo, commented that they believe American Tower will likely be one of the final bidders for all or part of Verizon’s tower portfolio.

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