iPhone 5 Will Transform Wireless Industry: CEO

Sunday, 23 Sep 2012 | 4:06 PM ET

With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other mobile-enabled gadgets, telecom companies will continue to build out their wireless networks to support the anticipated explosion in data usage.

Cell Phone Tower
Michael Betts | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images
Cell Phone Tower

That puts companies like American Tower and Crown Castle, which own cellular towers and other wireless infrastructure, in position to benefit from the coming data boom.

Apple’siPhone 5 could be a transformational event for the wireless industry, American Tower CEO, James Taiclet, told CNBC’s“Squawk on the Street” on Friday.

“What this does is it takes the most popular device with the most applications and brings it into the most modern wireless technology being operated in the world right now,” he said. “So you'll be able to do much more robust things as a consumer.”

For one, consumers will be able to use the iPhone 5’s video chat, Face Time, on mobile, not just wi-fi.

(Read More:Apple's iPhone 5 Launches Across the World.)

That will consume a good deal of data and wireless companies — like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint— are going to strive to be able to deliver that signal where people are going to need it, Taiclet said.

Capitalizing on Spectrum Demand: CEO
James Taiclet, American Tower CEO, explains how he intends to "ladder out" his company's growth plans and keep up with skyrocketing demand for wireless data.

While there are about 300 million wireless subscribers in the U.S. only 10 to 15 million will have the 4G iPhone 5 initially, he noted, so carriers will have plenty of time to meet the expected boom in data demand.

Taiclet expects it to take six to eight years to roll out the service completely, and every year, there will be more equipment put on more towers. Since the towers are already built in the U.S., American Tower “won’t have to invest the capex for a brand new tower every time a carrier needs a transmission.”

American Tower is also moving overseas in search of new growth. The company is building 1,000 towers a year in India compared to the 250 or so they build in the U.S. each year. They’re also buying towers and partnering with carriers in places like South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Ghana.

"In a place like South Africa and Mexico, they're just now implementing robust 3G services,” Taiclet said. “If you go further back on the technology curve, countries like Ghana and India have not started on a robust 3G network.”

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