Crown Castle International Corp. delivered another quarter of great financial results that exceeded the REIT’s expectations and reflect the significant demand they are seeing from their shared infrastructure assets.
“I believe our strategy and unmatched portfolio of more than 40,000 towers and approximately 75,000 route miles of fiber concentrated in the top U.S. markets has positioned Crown Castle to generate growth in cash flows and dividends per share both in the near term and for years to come,” said Jay Brown, CEO, on the firm’s Q2 earnings call. “Due in large part to the increasing demand we are seeing across our tower assets, we are increasing our full year 2019 outlook and now expect to grow AFFO per share by approximately 8%, which is at the high end of our longer term target of 7% to 8% annual growth.”
He pointed out that current tower leasing activity is its highest in more than a decade which he expects will carry into next year. He also pointed out that the small cell business is delivering compelling returns at scale.
“We are seeing a more significant acceleration in tower leasing this year than we previously expected with broad demand from each of our largest customers as they deploy additional cell sites and spectrum in response to the rapid growth in mobile data traffic. We now expect new leasing activity on towers to be approximately 30% higher when compared to the level of leasing last year with activity in the back half of the year exceeding the growth generated year-to-date.”
And he believes that the current level of activity will continue “as our customers respond to data traffic growth on their 4G networks, while also embarking on the deployment of 5G. According to a recent report from Ericsson, data traffic per smartphone in North America is expected to increase from seven gigabytes per month in 2018 to nearly 40 gigabytes per month by 2024, representing the highest rate of data consumption in the world and a compound annual growth rate of more than 30%.”