American Tower CEO Says REIT Taking Leading Role in 5G Transition

James Taiclet, chairman, president and CEO of American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT), participated in a podcast interview at Nareit’s 2018 CEO Forum & Advocacy Day.

Taiclet gave an overview of fifth generation (5G) wireless systems and American Tower’s role in the adoption of new technology. He explained that while 3G offered mobile users a connection to the internet in a “usable fashion” and 4G added entertainment services, 5G is “going to up the game again.”

5G will allow mobile devices to stream high definition videos and offer augmented and virtual reality products. 5G will also enable a “really robust” Internet of Things environment, including the use of autonomous vehicles and drones, Taiclet said.

With wireless antennas expected to be attached to tower-type structures for the foreseeable future, American Tower is a “leader in creating, securing and managing the franchise real estate that’s required to do these kinds of technologies,” according to Taiclet.

Meanwhile, dense urban and indoor environments will require more 5G antennas, Taiclet noted. American Tower currently has about 350 small cell systems in the United States, located in large commercial buildings including convention centers and malls.

Going forward, “there’s going to have to be a huge migration of access to real estate above and beyond the towers, that we’ll continue to build and use,” Taiclet said.