American Tower owns and operates roughly 180,000 cell towers throughout the U.S., Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. It leases space on its towers to wireless service providers, which install equipment on the towers to support their wireless networks. The company has a very concentrated customer base, with the most revenue in each market being generated by just the top few mobile carriers.
The company operates more than 40,000 towers in the U.S., which accounted for more than half of its total revenue in 2019. Outside the U.S., American Tower’s greatest presence is in India and Brazil, where it operates roughly 75,000 and 19,000 towers, respectively. American Tower operates as a real estate investment trust.
The company was formed in 1995 as a unit of American Radio Systems. In 1998, American Radio Systems merged with CBS Corporation and completed the corporate spin-off of American Tower. Following the merger, American Tower began international expansion by establishing operations in Mexico in 1998 and Brazil in 1999. The company began purchasing numerous AT&T Long Lines microwave telephone relay towers. Upon acquisition of these sites from the now defunct AT&T Communications, Inc., American Tower began repurposing the towers for use as cell towers and leasing antenna space to various American cell phone providers and private industries. Then, most of the former AT&T Long Lines sites had their horn antennas removed, either by helicopter or by crane, to make room for more antennas. Since AT&T’s Long Lines Program was decommissioned in the 1980s, and the company no longer had any use for the towers themselves, American Tower now owns most of these tower structures across the entire continental United States.
In 2005, American Tower acquired SpectraSite Communications, expanding its global portfolio to over 22,000 owned communications sites including over 21,000 wireless towers, 400 broadcast towers, and 100 in-building DAS (Distributed Antenna System) sites. The merger further established American Tower’s position as one of the largest tower owners and operators in North America.
Between 2007 and 2012, the company expanded internationally with operations in India, Peru, Chile, Colombia, South Africa, Ghana, and Uganda. In 2013, the company acquired Global Tower Partners for $4.8 billion. This acquisition added sites to the U.S. portfolio and added operations in Costa Rica and Panama.
ATC's mission is:
1. Lead wireless connectivity around the globe.
2. Innovate for a mobile future.
3. Drive efficiency throughout the industry.
4. Grow assets and capabilities to meet customer needs.
ATC vision is: "to make wireless communication possible everywhere."
Tom Bartlett (Chairman, CEO, and President)
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Tom Bartlett (Chairman, CEO and President)
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