T-Mobile Leases Its Towers for $2.4 Billion to Fund Its LTE Plans
T-Mobile said on Friday that it has reached a deal to unload its cellular towers for $2.4 billion, a move that will help fund the company’s effort to modernize its network.
The buyer is Houston-based Crown Castle, a major owner of such towers. With the deal, Crown Castle said it will control 83 percent of the towers in the top 100 U.S. markets.
T-Mobile is the last to launch high-speed LTE service. In the wake of its failed bid to sell itself to AT&T, T-Mobile said it would spend $4 billion to upgrade its network, adding LTE service by 2013.
Under the deal, slated to close in the fourth quarter, Crown Castle will get the exclusive right to operate the towers for decades, as well as the option to purchase them outright for a further $2.4 billion.
“T-Mobile USA is working aggressively to make our 4G network stronger, faster and more dependable for consumers, and this transaction will support our ongoing $4 billion network modernization initiative that is the cornerstone of this effort as we work tirelessly to continue to deliver our amazing 4G services nationwide,” newly minted T-Mobile USA chief John Legere said in a statement.
The company had been considering a sale of its towers for some time. T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom said it will use the cash from the deal to pay down debt and to fund the network expansion.