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Comcast-Backed Cell Tower Firm Lands Financing, Buys Five Towers

CTI Towers, a wireless tower operator formed by Comcast Ventures in 2011, has secured $30 million in debt financing to fuel future M&A activity and has wrapped up its first third-party acquisition – the purchase of five towers from a “major wireless carrier.”

CTI Towers declined to identify the seller, but the newly acquired towers are located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. The company has leased space to all the big names in U.S. cellular -- AT&T, Verizon Wireless , Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, Leap Wireless, and MetroPCS – as well as “many broadcasters,” according to the CTI Towers Web site.

CTI Towers said it has already received carrier inquiries for leasing the towers since the acquisition.

The company noted that it has acquired 230 towers so far, adding that it will use the financing “to accelerate its acquisition pipeline as it continues to enhance its position as one of the top 10 largest wireless tower operators in the U.S.”  

“We remain committed to helping our customers meet deadlines for new cell sites and network deployment,” CTO Towers CEO Tony Peduto said in a statement. “We will continue to seek strategic acquisitions to fuel growth as the wireless industry responds to the demand for wireless broadband services.” 

“We’re excited to see CTI Towers grow its footprint and enhance its ability to deliver even more tower inventory across the country, helping all wireless carriers keep their networks in-stride with consumer demand,” added David Zilberman, venture partner at Comcast Ventures and CTI Towers board chairman.

In all, CTI Towers owns, operates and maintains more than 800 wireless towers in the U.S., with the bulk coming way of towers that were previously owned by Comcast cable subsidiaries.

The current total would indeed put CTI Towers among the top ten of U.S. tower owners, according to Wireless Estimator, a site that tracks the cell tower market. As of January 2013, Crown Castle led the market with 29,431 towers as of January 2013, followed by American Tower (21,668), SBA Communications (14,873), AT&T Towers (10,690), Global Tower Partners (5,683), United States Cellular Co. (4,802), T-Mobile Towers (1,602), Verizon Wireless (1,400) and Time Warner (950).