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October 5, 2020

Member Spotlight: Meet American Tower’s Steve Vondran .

Member Spotlight: Meet American Tower’s Steve Vondran

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The next generation of wireless is upon us, and companies like American Tower are working to provide critical infrastructure that will enable new wireless communications and help capture the full potential of 5G. We interviewed Steve Vondran, EVP of American Tower and President of U.S. Tower Division, to get an inside look at 5G and how his company is helping the industry bring it to scale.

What are some exciting things happening at American Tower right now?

Steve Vondran: American Tower owns, operates and develops wireless infrastructure to enable a connected world. Our portfolio consists of about 180,000 sites in 20 countries, including more than 40,000 sites in the United States, and over the years we’ve grown to be one of the largest global real estate investment trusts.

Some exciting things we are focusing on at American Tower are customer service, innovation, edge computing and in-building 5G—all of which will work in tandem to bring about a more connected future.

Customer Service. Delivering high-quality support to our customers has always been a cornerstone of how we conduct business. Over the years we’ve continually refined our processes and enhanced our digital platforms, driving efficiency and delivering increasing value to our customers.

Edge computing. As networks become increasingly virtualized and software-dependent, there will be an increasing role for infrastructure providers to play in the nascent edge data ecosystem. Edge computing offerings will eventually serve connected and autonomous vehicles, interactive and immersive media delivery and any number of other products and services where lower latency is a must, or where end-user data processing needs to be closer to the access device.

In-building 5G. The evolution to 5G will also bring new opportunities for in-building connectivity. Our in-building connectivity solutions leverage 4G and 5G with unlicensed, licensed and shared CBRS spectrum. That means we are positioned to deliver additional value for our carrier customers to help them achieve scale, and for our property owners to help them attract new tenants with enhanced services, smart building automation and IoT-enabled applications.

CTIA does excellent work serving as the voice of the wireless industry in the United States. CTIA successfully convenes the many stakeholders in the wireless communications ecosystem to come together and address issues facing the industry.
Steve Vondran, President of U.S. Tower Division & Executive Vice President, American Tower

How is American Tower helping to build 5G networks?

Steve Vondran: With macro tower ownership and operation at the core of our business, we are proud that macro sites have supported the evolution of wireless networks from 1G to 4G, and that they will continue to do so with 5G. Macro cell towers continue to be the backbone of wireless networks. As carriers continue to launch 5G areas across the country, they will do so on a variety of frequency bands and will seek out towers to address consumer coverage needs. And since American Tower has the largest macro site portfolio in the U.S., we are excited to find ways to meet the different 5G deployment needs of each of our customers.

Personally, I am looking forward to 5G’s capacity for faster connections with near instant communication between devices and network applications. New technologies that have been on the horizon for years—such as autonomous vehicles, virtual and augmented reality, and smart factories and cities—will be realized. We anticipate that 5G will enable new opportunities and drive fundamental changes in nearly every area of the economy, including healthcare, education and agriculture. American Tower’s wireless infrastructure will be an integral part of that, and I’m excited to help make this all happen.

What does CTIA membership mean for American Tower?

Steve Vondran: CTIA does excellent work serving as the voice of the wireless industry in the United States. CTIA successfully convenes the many stakeholders in the wireless communications ecosystem to come together and address issues facing the industry, including infrastructure policies. Through CTIA, American Tower has had the opportunity to speak among our tenants, partners, suppliers and competitors about important issues as we work collectively to advance wireless communications services for American consumers. We are proud to be a CTIA member, a Board Member, and to play an integral part in many CTIA working groups. Our industry continues to enable amazing opportunities for businesses and consumers alike. With CTIA’s great support, we are excited for what lies ahead!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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