Frontier Communications and AT&T once again joined forces, this time inking an agreement which will allow the latter to hook its wireless assets up to the former’s fiber facilities. The deal builds on an earlier fiber partnership the pair struck in October 2021.
Under the terms of the deal, Frontier will provide backhaul for AT&T’s wireless network via fiber-to-the-tower connections in areas where the mobile operator doesn’t own its own fiber. The agreement will also allow AT&T to deploy its wireless infrastructure in Frontier’s central office locations.
Vishal Dixit, Frontier’s chief strategy officer, told Fierce that for the most part the agreement will “leverage our existing infrastructure, which we are upgrading as part of our fiber build.” But he added Frontier “will upgrade fiber-to-the-tower connectivity to support 5G backhaul as part of this – where and when required.”
Frontier noted in a press release AT&T is the “first tenant” to rent space in its local offices, implying more deals could be on the way. Dixit said “other wireless providers or technology firms” could be among future tenants. “Basically, anyone who wants to use our infrastructure to move closer to the customer, to reduce latency and improve response times,” he added.
The move comes as Frontier looks to grow its wholesale business by targeting enterprises and wireless operators. It jumpstarted this effort in late 2021, inking an fiber wholesale deal with AT&T in October of that year. On its Q3 2021 earnings call, Frontier Board Chairman John Stratton noted Frontier had “400,000 businesses within 250 feet of our fiber and over 23,000 towers within one mile of our fiber.”
Last month, CFO Scott Beasley stated that “we would expect that as we essentially double our footprint of fiber that you’d almost double the amount of towers that you’re passing nearby with fiber.” He added it was in the process of rebuilding strategic relationships with all of the major wireless carriers, and that between that effort and its fiber build “we would expect to be able to grow the fiber-to-the-tower business significantly” going forward.
In Q3 2022, Frontier posted $267 million in business and wholesale revenue from fiber, a figure which was down 3% year on year, but up sequentially from $264 million. The operator reports Q4 2022 earnings on February 24.
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