5G is going to be a “game changer for society” and will take a huge investment over the next decade to build out the system, American Tower Corp. CEO Jim Taiclet said Thursday.
Wireless companies are in the early stages of deploying the next generation of technology and the chief suggested that American Tower has a number of tailwinds to ride. The real estate investment trust leases multi-tenant cell tower sites to communications companies.
The sites will need to be closer together for 5G service, Taiclet explained.
“It’s going to be a wholesale transition from a 4G technology to a fifth-generation technology,” he said in a sit-down with “Mad Money’s” Jim Cramer. “There’s going to be more equipment out there transmitting and … it should be something that lengthens and strengthens our growth rate, not in the U.S. only but around the world, eventually.”
U.S. consumer mobile data is growing annually at a 30% clip on 4G technology, Taiclet said.
AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile make up 88% of American Tower’s domestic customers. The company reported 7.5% organic U.S. tenant billing growth in its second quarter.
The potential $26 billion Sprint and T-Mobile merger, which the U.S. Department of Justice approved last month, is carving out another bright spot for American Tower. As part of the deal, Dish is in line to buy a number of assets from Sprint, including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile.
Taiclet said his company has been “well in touch” with Dish management. He said the merger agreement will be good for both American Tower and the country as it positions the U.S. “for true leadership and accelerate that leadership for 5G.”
The chief thinks Dish will be a “disruptive new player” in the space that will benefit consumers.
“They’re in the middle of an internet of things deployment that they’re actually going to segue into a full 5G deployment,” he said.
U.S. companies are in a race with foreign businesses in countries such as China to roll out 5G infrastructure. 5G is expected to improve the speeds and ways that devices connect with one another and can be used in new applications, such as autonomous vehicles and drones.
President Donald Trump has said it’s one that that “America must win.”
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