Tower REIT Crown Castle Expanding Small Cell Technology

Ben Moreland, executive vice chairman of Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI), joined REIT.com for a video interview at REITWeek 2016: NAREIT’s Investor Forum at the Waldorf Astoria New York.

Crown Castle is the nation's largest provider of shared wireless infrastructure. The company announced earlier this year that Moreland would step aside as president and CEO on June 1. His successor, Jay Brown, previously held the role of CFO. Moreland discussed the company’s expansion into small cell technology.

“We’ve got a very extensive pipeline. We’re spending upwards of $400 million to $500 million a year on development activity on building new (small cell) systems,” Moreland said.

He explained that small cell is a “natural extension” of the tower site business, since both are shared models that allow the carriers to add additional network capacity.

Despite the potential offered by small cell technology, the original tower model still accounts for almost 90 percent of Crown Castle’s business, Moreland pointed out. Tower sites are “still the cheapest, quickest and most efficient way for carriers to add capacity,” he noted.

Moreland added that the highest returning activity for Crown Castle is to add additional revenue on the tower sites because they are already owned by the company.