DISH and SBA Communications Corporation announced a new long-term master lease agreement this week. The deal will grant DISH access to SBA’s extensive nationwide portfolio of wireless communication sites, the company said in a release. Agreement details weren’t made to the public. SBA owns and operates wireless communications infrastructure for towers, buildings, rooftops, distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cells.
The announcement builds on DISH’s continued progress in acquiring access to the infrastructure it needs to deploy its greenfield 5G network across the United States. DISH will lease towers from SBA as part of the agreement. Additionally, SBA is expected to deliver numerous pre-construction functions that range from site acquisition to regulatory and compliance services.
“With experience spanning more than thirty years, SBA brings a valuable team and portfolio to our infrastructure mix,” Dave Mayo, DISH Executive Vice President of Network Development said in a statement. “This agreement provides DISH with access to key real estate that will help advance our rapid 5G network deployment across the U.S.”
“We are excited to expand our partnership with DISH in their efforts to build out a nationwide wireless 5G network,” Jeff Stoops, SBA’s President and Chief Executive Officer said in a release. “We believe the quality of our assets and our long history of working closely with DISH will allow us to be a key support to them in their 5G network deployment.”
DISH’s recent agreement with SBA follows deals made with major tower companies Crown Castle and Vertical Bridge, Inside Towers reports. The Crown Castle offer includes 20,000 macro towers and its fiber services. Meanwhile, Vertical Bridge will provide locations on 300,000 sites. DISH also made additional lease agreements with seven independent tower companies that included Harmoni Towers, Parallel Infrastructure and Phoenix Tower International, which were announced last week. These deals added 4,000 macro sites as prospective locations for the company’s 5G network buildout and are expected to help accelerate DISH’s 5G radio installation on its newly-acquired infrastructure.
“Securing strong tower partners is a key component of any network expansion, and is tremendously important for DISH’s rapid roll-out of a new, nationwide 5G network,” Mayo said. “Each of these new tower partners will play an important role in bringing our network to life, connecting next-generation wireless service to American consumers and enterprises.”
“With the CBRS and C-band auctions now a reality in the U.S., our recently-announced master agreement with DISH, and important spectrum auctions planned for our international markets over the next two years, we believe we are on the cusp of another increase in operational activity and demand for our infrastructure likely to begin in the second half of 2021, and continue for years thereafter,” Stoops said.
DISH’s agreement with SBA comes at an ideal time in the new network buildout Gaining access to SBA’s vast communication sites portfolio could also help DISH meet its Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-mandated deadline of having its network cover at least 70% of the U.S. population by June 2023. This provision was put in place to help maintain competitive balance in the wireless industry when the T-Mobile and Sprint merger was approved last April.
Joe Dyton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.