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Crown Castle forecast falls short of estimates as telecom spending slows

Wireless tower operator Crown Castle forecast 2024 site rental revenue slightly below Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, as telecom firms reduce spending after years of pouring money into building out their 5G networks.

The company also announced the exit of CFO Dan Schlanger effective March 31.

Crown Castle’s shares fell more than 2% in extended trading, after the Houston, Texas-based company said it expects annual site rental revenue of $6.37 billion, compared with estimates of $6.38 billion, according to LSEG data.

A shift to 5G mobile technology from 4G has in recent years amplified demand for towers and network infrastructure, but the slowdown in spending by telecom firms over the past few quarters has hit demand for the cell tower site development services offered by companies such as Crown Castle.

Crown Castle, which competes with American Tower and SBA Communications (SBAC.O), posted third-quarter revenue of $1.58 billion, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $1.70 billion.

Its adjusted funds from operations stood at $1.77 a share for the July-September period, compared with $1.85 per share a year earlier.

Services revenue fell about 49% to $90 million at Crown Castle, which mainly caters to U.S. telecom giants T-Mobile US, AT&T and Verizon.

The telecommunications infrastructure firm had said in July it would cut about 15% of its workforce of about 5,000 people and discontinue its tower installation services as a part of its restructuring plan to cut costs due to lower tower activity. Reuters

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