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Joint AT&T-Verizon Cell Tower Project

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It’s not often that fierce competitors in the communications industry will work together. This morning marked a rare exception, with AT&T and Verizon announcing a joint project to build cell towers all over the U.S.

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Tillman Infrastructure will erect the towers, designed for use by both companies. AT&T and Verizon will lease them together.

Why are AT&T and Verizon working together?

Nicola Palmer, Verizon’s Chief Network Officer, told the press about the joint project. “It is imperative to reduce operating costs”, she said. “We are evaluating all of our long term contracts as they come up for renewal, and we are excited to develop new vendor partners…”

AT&T echoed Palmer’s sentiments. Susan Johnson, the telecom’s Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain, said, “We need more alternatives to the traditional tower leasing model with… large incumbents. We’re creating a diverse community of suppliers and tower companies who will help increase market competition while reducing our overhead.”

Joint use of cell towers not only saves money for AT&T and Verizon, it benefits consumers. The project will support cell coverage for areas lacking it now. Increased competition will help to hold down prices.

Ability to reach remote rural areas is important to both companies. In September, Verizon caught heavy public criticism for cutting off service for 8,500 rural customers. Many of the customers had no access to any other wireless providers.

Tillman is fairly new to the cell infrastructure market. Its parent corporation was founded in 2013, while the leading cell tower firms have existed for 25 years or longer. Tillman will build the first AT&T-Verizon cell towers early in 2018.

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