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AT&T and Verizon team up to build hundreds of new cell towers

Both companies are looking to cut costs.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Verizon and AT&T announced today that they will be jointly constructing hundreds of new cell towers across the US. Tillman Infrastructure will build the towers -- designed for both companies' use -- and together Verizon and AT&T will lease them. "It is imperative to reduce operating costs," Verizon's Chief Network Officer, Nicola Palmer, said in a statement. "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."

Tillman is a relative newcomer to the cell tower space. Its parent company, Tillman Global, was founded in 2013, while tower big shots like American Tower, Crown Castle and SBA Communications have been around since the 80s and 90s. "We need more alternatives to the traditional tower leasing model with the large incumbents. It's not cost-effective or sustainable," said Susan Johnson, AT&T's senior vice president of global supply chain. "We're creating a diverse community of suppliers and tower companies who will help increase market competition while reducing our overhead."

While it makes sense from a business standpoint to share cell towers, it will also benefit consumers as the new towers will help fill in areas that are currently lacking wireless coverage. Verizon recently came under fire for cutting off service to thousands of rural customers, many of whom didn't have access to other wireless providers.

Construction on the first round of towers will begin in early 2018.

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