AT&T officials recently announced that the company has decided to acquire FiberTower as well as the millimeter wave spectrum rights owned by the company. The amount related to this purchase by AT&T is still unclear.
FiberTower is a company that provides wireless services to enterprises, government bodies, and carriers alike. FiberTower’s services are mainly used by carriers for backhauling their wireless networks. The acquisition of the FiberTower has numerous benefits for AT&T in its 5G cellular services and the centralized radio access networks. This has been a part of AT&T’s efforts to lay groundwork for its future networking solutions.
It is reported that FiberTower has been actively marketing its wireless solutions to major carriers and has licenses in most areas like Washington D.C., Boston, Baltimore, and Detroit. Its 24 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum can provide more than 200 high capacity links per square kilometer.
AllNet Insights states that FiberTower currently owns about 8.4 billion MHz POPs that is 8.4 billion 39 GHz and 374 MM 24 GHz. The company has previously lost many of its spectrum licenses by the actions of the Federal Communications Commission. The failure in building the required infrastructure to provide the spectrum is the reason attributed to the cancelling of the licenses by the FCC. However, the company has come up with retaining some of its spectrum thereby avoiding the loss of the licenses it holds.
Once the standard is correctly defined, this millimeter wave spectrum will play a crucial role in AT&T’s 5G network plans. The Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson and AT&T have already experimented with this spectrum. Their efforts have been largely successful in demonstrating a millimeter wave system capable of providing speeds of 1 gigabit per second.
By acquiring the spectrum, AT&T plans to install its remote radio heads connected to the central baseband units. Fiber is the preferred medium for these wireless links. The installation process for every C-RAN deployment will prove to be more costly and impossible due to many issues pertaining to permitting and zoning.
Reports say that Verizon Communications has also acquired accessibility to the spectrum licenses of 28 GHz and 39 GHz. It had brought these licenses through the purchasing of XO Communications. The carrier for buying the licenses later has secured the necessary rights for leasing XO’s licenses.