Wireless Infrastructure to Enable a Connected World

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Build-to-Suit

Optimizing New Tower Builds to Speed Time to Market

The steps we take to ensure every one of our Build-to-Suit projects brings our customers the highest levels of service, efficiency, and quality.

When we engage with customers to build a tower that meets their specific requirements, we put our tools, expertise, site development staff, and relationships to work in ways other tower construction companies can’t.

Here’s a look at a few of the many ways we bring unmatched value to our customer—from the moment they engage with us through site selection, the tower build, equipment deployment, site maintenance, and beyond.

Analyzing Site Suitability

When analyzing site suitability, we take a consultative approach with our customers and focus on:

  • Locations providing optimized coverage and capacity
  • Proximity of fiber for backhauling from the site
  • Due diligence, particularly compliance with environmental regulations

The first step is to overlay the search area identified by the customer with current cellphone coverage maps for the same area. Using our systems and tools, we can analyze wireless coverage and fiber availability. This allows us to take a first pass at identifying locations with the highest potential to be strategically important to the customer, today and as technologies evolve.

We also take the extra step of sending our experts to potential sites to evaluate site suitability based on their experience in tower real estate development. If the site falls below requirements from any perspective, whether there’s a wetland nearby or fiber is too far away to make economic sense, we immediately start looking for more viable sites in the immediate area.

The goal is always to identify the right site in the right location, and never simply recommend the site that’s easiest to develop.

Securing the Ideal Location

In addition to finding interested property owners and establishing leasing agreements with them, we work with our network of land-owning partners throughout the U.S. to secure optimal build locations.

For example, our exclusive agreement with a leading travel center operator gives us access to prime tower and rooftop locations at more than 730 travel centers in 44 states. All of these properties are near major highways, making them ideal for 5G applications, such as autonomous vehicles and smart transportation. They also provide extensive ground space for maximum build flexibility. With our pre-established ground lease terms and easy access to fiber, tower builds on these properties are extremely efficient, expediting tower construction and meeting tight deadlines. This is just one example of the strategic relationships we maintain across the U.S.

Providing In-House Expertise

To ensure high-quality tower builds and speed to market, we leverage our in-house resources and expertise and provide a single point of contact for the project.

All aspects of the site design and build are managed by our in-house teams. Our customers always work directly with a dedicated American Tower project manager, never a third-party who might bring other interests, business goals, or operational constraints into the equation.

Along with our real estate, technical, and construction management experts, we also engage our legal team to ensure zoning and permitting for the site goes smoothly. With our portfolio of more than 40,000 towers nationwide, our site development and legal teams understand the permitting requirements in almost every municipality and have established relationships with local personnel to ensure an efficient process.

Meeting Challenges With Our Resources

When it comes to challenging builds or tight timelines, our financial stability, resources, and expertise make us best suited to meet our customers’ needs. While smaller, regional companies provide build-to-suit services that appear to offer the lowest price, they very rarely deliver the best value. Their limited resources, inability to quickly scale to meet tough deadlines, and restricted financial position often introduce deployment risks to tower builds. Due to their often tight financial position, regional companies may wait to secure additional tenants before moving forward with allocating capital on new tower construction. This hidden delay puts the build plan of the anchor tenant at risk, ultimately costing significant time and lost revenue.

Building for the Long Term

Every tower we build is constructed with the knowledge that we will own the tower and maintain the site to an extremely high standard of care for many years. Our best-in-class standard of care covers all aspects of the site, including access, fencing, compound, buildings, and more to make sure our customers have the access they need and can get their work done efficiently.

Like the rest of our tower portfolio, every tower we build complies with the latest Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Structural Standard for Antenna-Supporting Structures and Antennas, TIA-222-H, commonly referred to as Revision H.

Get More Information

For insight into a real-world tower build and how American Tower helped a major mobile network operator meet all of its requirements, read our case study.

For more information about our Build-to-Suit solution, visit our webpage.

Patrick O’Reilly

Patrick has been with American Tower since 1999, serving in various roles within the operations organization. He is currently a Manager of Site Development, overseeing Build-to-Suit projects.

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