T-Mobile leases 7,200 cell towers to Crown Castle for $2.4B

The deal is part of T-Mobile's plan to raise cash to help with its network upgrade.

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Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng

T-Mobile USA has agreed to sell the rights to its network of cellular towers to Crown Castle for $2.4 billion as it looks to focus on its core operations.

T-Mobile has been shopping its 7,200 cell towers around for several years, seeing it as an easy way to bring in some badly needed cash that can be funneled into its network upgrade. The carrier has already committed to spending $4 billion over the next three years as it works to build out its 4G LTE network.

Under the agreement announced today, Austin, Texas-based Crown Castle will operate the towers for 28 years and have the right to acquire them at the end of the term by paying another $2.4 billion.

Crown Castle already operates and maintains 30,000 cellular towers around the country. Carriers such as T-Mobile or AT&T will pay for space on those towers to mount their cellular radios, allowing them to extend and strengthen their wireless networks.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Since its deal to be acquired by AT&T fell through, T-Mobile has been trying to shake things up. The company recently named John Legere as its new CEO, revamped its marketing campaign to more aggressively target rivals, and revised its data plans.

Correction at 7:15 a.m. PT: The story incorrectly listed the number of cell towers under the deal. It is 7,200.