U.S. telcos partner with Tillman; construction of hundreds of sites to kick off next year

AT&T and Verizon have partnered with Tillman Infrastructure to build and share hundreds of new cell towers.

Under the agreement, the two U.S. telcos have committed to co-leasing and co-anchoring the new sites. In a statement on Monday, AT&T, Verizon and Tillman said the deal also leaves the door open for the construction of "significantly more new site locations" in future.

The partnership has the potential to shake up the U.S. towers market, as operators there drive down costs amid intensifying competition.

"We need more alternatives to the traditional tower leasing model with the large incumbents. It’s not cost-effective or sustainable. We’re creating a diverse community of suppliers and tower companies who will help increase market competition while reducing our overhead," said Susan Johnson, SVP of global supply chain, AT&T.

"It is imperative to reduce operating costs. We are reviewing all of our long-term contracts as they come up for renewal and we are excited to develop new vendor partners to diversify our infrastructure providers," added Nicola Palmer, chief network officer, Verizon Wireless.

Construction of the new sites is due to begin during the first quarter of 2018. Once the towers are built, network engineers will move quickly to install equipment.

"Tillman is excited about the opportunity to work with AT&T and Verizon in order to further develop the cell tower model of the future," said Tillman CFO Suruchi Ahuja. "Over the past year we have built a strong team at Tillman and are committed to rapidly building a leader in wireless infrastructure in the U.S. in order to best serve carriers and the broader communities in which we will enable connectivity."