Crown Castle, the cell tower operator, announced today that it plans to acquire NextG Networks, the largest provider of outdoor distributed antenna systems, for approximately $1.0 billion in cash. NextG has built and maintains fiber-fed small-cell solutions for major wireless service providers throughout the USA.
NextG, currently has over 7,000 nodes-on-air with 1,500 nodes under construction and rights to over 4,600 miles of fiber. Crown Castle is one of the country’s largest owners and operators of towers, rooftops and DAS networks, owning and managing more than 22,300 cell sites.
Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) is a network of antennas connected by fiber to a communications hub. Multiple operators may use the antennas, and the technique is often used in sports stadiums and malls.
The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012 and will expand Crown Castle’s portfolio of DAS to customers beyond those areas traditionally served by towers.
Revenues from in-building wireless systems are expected to grow from $3.8 billion in 2007 to more than $15 billion in 2013, says ABI Research. ADC/TE, Andrew Corp and NextG Networks are leaders in the field.