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Jennifer Fritzsche State of the Wireless Industry 021816

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Jennifer Fritzsche's, Wells Fargo, presentation to the AWA Q1 Luncheon, Tuesday Feb. 23rd, 2016 @ The Club

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Jennifer Fritzsche State of the Wireless Industry 021816

  1. 1. Current State of the Wireless Industry Presentation to Alabama Wireless Association Jennifer Fritzsche, Managing Director – Wells Fargo Securities (312) 920-3548 / jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com February 2016 All estimates / forecasts are as of 2/19/2016 unless otherwise specified. Please see page 27 for rating definitions, important disclosures and required analyst certifications. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of the report and investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision.
  2. 2. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com Contents SECTION I: Who Am I And Why Am I Here? SECTION II: Wireless Industry At A Quick Glance SECTION III: 5 Key Themes In Telecom SECTION IV: An In Depth Look At Strategies Of Big 4 Wireless Players SECTION V: 3 Trends To Watch For In 2016 & Beyond 2
  3. 3. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com SECTION I: Who Am I & Why I Am Here?
  4. 4. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 4 Jennifer Fritzsche – Who is She & Why Is She Here!? • Sell-side Analyst who has followed wireless industry in a senior role since 1997. I have seen the good, bad and ugly! Somehow survived 4 bank mergers and lived (barely) through the financial crisis of 2008. All the better for it (but it did not seem like it during that time!) • Zero experience at telecom companies. Joined Kemper Securities right out of business school in 1995 and was lucky enough to be a junior associate analyst for two very smart telecom analysts. Was lucky to learn from some of the very best. • Chicago native. The only sell-side telecom analyst who actually lives in Chicago. Also one of the only female telecom analysts. Live in Northern suburbs with my husband and three children. Also a hockey mom (although in many ways I don’t fit that stereotype!)! • Follow 23 companies (wireless carriers, towers, fiber players, data centers, RLECs). Very strong relationships with my companies (“my children” as I call them). My client base is portfolio managers focused on the telecom space.
  5. 5. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com SECTION II: Wireless Industry At A Quick Glance
  6. 6. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 6 Snapshot View of Wireless Industry 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 EstimatedSubscribers(inMillions) Estimated Subscribers Estimated Subscribers Source: CTIA Wireless Annual Survey estimates, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC $0 $20 $40 $60 $80 $100 $120 $140 $160 $180 $200 TotalServiceRevenues(inBillions) Service Revenues Service Revenues Source: CTIA Wireless Annual Survey, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC 0 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000 300,000 350,000 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 NumberofCellSites Cell Sites Number of Cell Sites Source: CTIA Wireless Annual Survey, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC $0 $50 $100 $150 $200 $250 $300 $350 $400 $450 $500 TotalCapex(inBillions) Cumulative Capital Investment Cumulative Capital Investment Source: CTIA Wireless Annual Survey, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
  7. 7. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 7 Voice Is An App – Data is The Here and Now
  8. 8. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com SECTION III: 5 Key Themes in Telecom
  9. 9. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 9 Key Themes in Telecom THEME 1: Spectrum = Life Blood of Wireless Network  Spectrum is critical to carriers in building out wireless networks and valuable due to its scarcity and limited capacity  The FCC has announced 2 major spectrum auctions, the first notable auctions since 2008  65 MHz AWS-3 spectrum auction concluded in January 2015 and generated $44.9B in gross bids  Broadcast (incentive) auction expected in March 2016 (600MHz)  The 4 primary drivers of spectrum value are: frequency / propagation characteristics, location, channel size and inclusion in global standards  Prices of spectrum (in auctions and secondary markets) have continued to increase in past few years given the scarcity of this asset. So in short, who has what?  VZ: In our view, substantial holdings of low 700MHz (C Block) and 850MHz, plus its purchase of AWS spectrum from a cable consortium . Won 181 licenses for a total of $10.4B in AWS-3 auction.  T: Good position, in our view, with 700MHz and 850MHz holdings, and has been adding AWS and 2.1 GHz for network capacity. Spent $18.2B in AWS-3 auction (mostly in J block) and committed $9B (with conditions) in the broadcast auction.  S: Substantial capacity in metro areas, in our view, with 2.5GHz spectrum (multiple 20x20 channels). S also has 1900 and 800 MHz spectrum. Did not participate in AWS-3 auction and will also not participate in broadcast auction.  TMUS: Benefits from simplicity of contiguous spectrum bands (AWS, PCS, 700MHz), which are less fragmented than the spectrum holdings of its competitors. Spent $1.8B in AWS-3 auction and we expect them to be active in broadcast auction, with a goal to have nationwide coverage of low-band. Bought a bunch of 700MHz A block from VZ and just bought a bunch more.
  10. 10. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 10 Key Themes in Telecom THEME 2: Fiber is Major Focus for Carriers  Due to the expanding appetite for bandwidth, fiber networks have seen numerous changes in response to accelerated traffic growth (global IP traffic expected to grow 3x through 2019).  Ethernet: Migration of enterprise from legacy TDM/SONET to Ethernet, which provides higher speeds and lower cost per bit  Fiber-to-the-Tower: The deployment and densification of LTE networks to meet bandwidth demand have accelerated fiber build-outs for wireless backhaul  Dark Fiber: With longer contracts, higher margins and lower churn than lit fiber, dark fiber is favored by many carriers as it provides scalable bandwidth and flexibility for the lessee  Metro Fiber: Provides high margin on-net revenue for carriers and better control over network performance  The competitive landscape continues to evolve, with consolidation of fiber assets such as LVLT/TWTC and Fibertech/Lightower, enhanced competition for fiber-to-the-home between the incumbents and new entrants like Google, and M&A with tower assets (CCI/Sunesys) and data centers (ZAYO/Latisys) Fiber Statistics by Carrier Carrier Fiber Route Miles Metro Route Miles On-Net Buildings Metro Markets LTM Revenue ($MM) EBITDA ($MM) Margin AT&T 1 1,014,000 N/A 20,000 N/A 57,549 15,611 27.1% Verizon 1 800,000 N/A 10,000 N/A 38,028 8,846 23.3% CenturyLink 250,000 N/A N/A N/A 17,822 6,814 38.2% Level 3 207,000 64,000 40,000 350 8,204 2,555 31.1% Time Warner Cable 150,000 N/A 75,000 31 N/A N/A N/A Comcast 141,000 N/A N/A 26 N/A N/A N/A Windstream 118,000 N/A N/A N/A 5,706 1,188 20.8% Zayo Group 85,500 N/A 18,000 320 1,347 783 58.1% Frontier 78,838 N/A 6,300 N/A 5,210 2,173 41.7% Charter 65,000 N/A 13,800 N/A 9,439 3,297 34.9% Cogent 59,000 27200 2,191 190 388 130 33.4% Lightower 30,000 N/A 15,000 N/A N/AN/A N/A N/A 1 Wireline businesses only Source: Company reports and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
  11. 11. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 11 Key Themes in Telecom THEME 3: Wireless – The Changing Pricing Landscape  Industry moving toward Equipment Installment Plans (EIP), which shifts service revenue toward equipment revenue and benefit margins as equipment subsidies are eliminated  Recent trend at Sprint and TMUS toward phone leasing in which the Company capitalizes the phones on the balance sheet and records depreciation over the phone’s life Overview of Wireless Carriers  T: Aggressively promoted its EIP (Next) and shared data plans (Mobile Share Value) in 2014 and now has ~46% of postpaid smartphone base on Next and ~70% on non-subsidy plans.  VZ: Offered its own EIP in response to TMUS and T and has now eliminated subsidized plans; Usually relies on network quality to attract and maintain subs, although has become more aggressive with pricing  S: First carrier to offer leasing plans and continues to be aggressive with pricing and promotions to attract subscribers  TMUS: Shook up wireless industry in 2013 with Value plans and EIP program; continues to be active with promotions, leading the industry in postpaid handset net adds for 7 of the past 8 quarters Current Single-Line Pricing Plans by Carrier* JUMP On- Demand iPhone Forever EasyPay Subsidized Subsidized (2-yr) Terms 18-m lease 22-m lease 24-m EIP 2-yr contract 2-yr contract Upgrade Options 3/year 1/year After 2-year contract Upgrade Cost $0 $0 N/A Upfront Phone Payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $200 $0 $0 $200 $0 $0 Monthly Service Fee $70 $70 $80 $70 $70 $70 $75 $115 $140 $80 $100 Monthly Device Fee $20 $27 $27 $22 $27 $0 $27 $27 0 $27 $27 Monthly Data Cap 5GB 5GB Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 5GB 15GB 15GB 6GB 12GB Total Monthly Cost $90 $97 $107 $92 $97 $70 $102 $142 $140 $107 $127 Total 24 Month Cost $2,160 $2,330 $2,570 $2,208 $2,330 $1,880 $2,450 $3,410 $3,560 $2,570 $3,050 *Excludes sales tax and certain promotions; Prices as of October 2015 Source: Company websites and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC Upgrade after 18 installment payments 24-m EIP Next (24-months) $0 Installment Plan 24-m EIP Upgrade when 50% of device paid off $0 Upgrade when 50% of device paid off 24-m EIP $10/month $10/month 1/year T-Mobile AT&T VerizonSprint Simple Choice - Single Line
  12. 12. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 12 Key Themes in Telecom THEME 4: Industry Regulation Remains Major Influence  FCC has signalled that it favours “organic” wireless growth over consolidation  Sprint halted its pursuit of a merger with T-Mobile given low likelihood of regulators approving the deal  FCC has issued proposal that would prevent joint ventures, such as one proposed by T-Mobile and Sprint, from bidding in the next spectrum auction, which it believes would suppress competition, particularly among small businesses  Uncertainty surrounds the timing of the spectrum incentive auction and how much spectrum will be eligible for reallocation to wireless providers  The debate over “net neutrality” and the Open Internet has received considerable public scrutiny; Questions remain surrounding:  Should content companies be allowed to pay broadband providers for prioritized delivery of their content?  The FCC’s recent Open Internet Order classifies wireless and wireline broadband under Title II, although uncertainty will likely continue given the litigation challenging the FCC’s authority  Can forbearance from rate regulation be struck down by a future administration?  Other key issues to watch for include an extension of bonus depreciation and reforms to the Universal Service Fund (USF) and Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) systems
  13. 13. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 13 Key Themes in Telecom THEME 5: Trend Toward IT Outsourcing Should Benefit Data Centers and Fiber Players  Global IP traffic is forecasted to grow 23% annually through 2019, which should result in a need for improved IT infrastructure  Only 20-25% of global server deployments are outsourced to 3rd party facilities  Growth in network bandwidth should drive continued outsourcing to carrier-neutral data centers  Fiber-based CLECs should see increased demand for connecting these data centers  Rapid adoption of cloud/managed hosting business models should benefit latency-sensitive colocation and interconnection-focused data centers, as cloud providers increasingly need a presence in edge facilities Global IPTraffic Forecast (PB/Month) Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index 0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 120,000 140,000 160,000 180,000 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Mobile Managed IP Fixed Internet 0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Asia Pacific Middle East/Africa LatAm Central/Eastern Europe Western Europe North America Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Data CenterTraffic Forecast (ZB/Year)
  14. 14. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com SECTION IV: An In Depth Look At Strategies Of Big 4 Wireless Players
  15. 15. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 15 AT&T - (T) Wireless Strategy  DirecTV (DTV) acquisition driven by content savings, cross-selling opportunity and FCF accretion  Mobile Share Value and Next plans have helped lower churn and gain sub share  In 2015 seemed willing to cede handset share – did not match VZ’s price point of $80 / 10GB of data. Market is rewarding it for beating on margin and toeing line on price.  At the cusp of important changes on wireless side – video going to be major component here, especially with DTV in the mix, in our view.  Seemed to slow wireless build and focus more on pushing fiber into the ground (GigaPower). In 2015, the mix of wireline and wireless capx was more equal than in the past (historically wireless was higher). Believe they are focused on spending on wireline infrastructure in an effort to support the anticipated wireless data “tsunami” that is on the come with video entering the fold.  Open questions remain about how mix shift of capex impacts the towers industry.  AT&T Next is here to stay. Only option for consumers buying T service in indirect retailers and we believe this will be where it will go in direct strategy. See next page.  Banking more on spectrum than capx. AT&T spent $18B (the highest bidder) in the AWS-3 auction. Never met a spectrum deal it did not seem to like (i.e. Aloha Wireless, Atlantic Cellular, LEAP).  Mexico (through the recent acquisitions of Nextel International’s Mexican assets and Iusacell) is part of the view to make a 400MM POP North American wireless footprint.  Would expect to hear more on a video Over the Top (OTT) strategy. T views the critical bundle as “Wireless, Broadband and Video.” With DTV now closed – it should begin to connect these dots.
  16. 16. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 16 Sprint Corp. (S) Wireless Strategy:  Spectrum value is very deep, with its significant holdings of 2.5GHz spectrum – has more spectrum than any of the big 4 carriers. Big empty airplane!  Big checkbook behind Sprint is Softbank. Softbank CEO (Masa Son) is in the weeds and seems myopically focused on turning it around.  CEO Marcelo Claure’s focus on new pricing plans and promotions should help bring gross adds back to Sprint. Saw real turn in FQ2 and FQ3 2015 where it realized positive handset adds (first time in a LONG time).  Network has always been an issue for Sprint….but it is FINALLY getting better. Root Metrics recognition has improved by 6x in 2H15 vs. 1H15. Small cells are a major part of the forward looking strategy, though actual network strategy remains a mystery. Most are wondering, is the US like Japan?  Actual network strategy remains a mystery. Similar to T, what is impact on towers industry?  Prioritizing expense improvements in areas like roaming expense, procurement, distribution, backhaul and handset costs.  Saw record low postpay churn (1.54%) in FQ2 2015 – decrease in both voluntary and involuntary churn.  Damaged Brand, in our view – takes a long time to repair.  Radio Shack stores (~1,400) are now online. Distribution key focus for Sprint.  Should have multiple carrier aggregation chipsets soon, which would allow Sprint to access multiple 20 MHz channels  In our view, the challenge for Sprint is real confusion as to what it stands for in the market place.  Expect leasing to be a major part of the strategy. The ownership of Brightstar (by Softbank) helps with this strategy, in our view. We believe the formation of Mobile Leasing Solutions, LLC (MLS) is a differentiator, and unique to Sprint given the partnerships backing it.
  17. 17. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 17 T-Mobile US, Inc. - (TMUS) Wireless Strategy:  TMUS has had a renaissance since getting the iPhone in April 2013 and successfully embraced social media platform to build the brand. The TMUS user is frugal – but cool at the same time!  Hit and identified all the many “pain points” of the US wireless consumer. The Southwest Airlines of the wireless industry!  Clear leader in postpay subs. But we still question the quality of the subs they are getting. A look into the three other national carriers’ churn rates does not make sense.  Un-carrier program has driven subs growth, with ARPU stabilization has followed.  Significant strides with network since completion of MetroPCS acquisition (completed May 2013) , including nationwide launch of VoLTE, ongoing progress toward MetroPCS spectrum re-farming, and vast improvements in network performance  Largest amount of prepay subs of the Big 4 (16MM+)  Like Sprint, lack coverage in rural America – however they have been adding this with their A block spectrum and opening retail stores there. This is good for regional players (like US Cellular) and means they will have to be very active in the upcoming broadcast spectrum auction (600MHz), in our view. Our channel checks show some network congestion as the average TMUS smartphone customer is using 2x-3x the data as that of T or VZ.  If industry is turning to video and content – they lack relationships, in our view.
  18. 18. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 18 Verizon - (VZ) Wireless Strategy  Strong overall wireless network quality, in our view; focused on densification of LTE in metro footprint.  Spent less on spectrum than closest peer (AT&T) in recent spectrum auction. Shifting to capx driven model (with large emphasis on small cells).  Like T, we believe it’s at the cusp of important changes on wireless side with video being the heart of the offering. Plans to introduce an OTT (Over the Top) mobile / video bundle in “late summer.” Has already signed some important OTT deals with content players (including ESPN). We believe this will be three pillar strategy: 1) premium content, 2) pay per view and 3) advertising.  AOL acquisition and its full “stack” capabilities should help advertising component of VZ’s OTT model.  VZ went to the Equipment Installment Plans (EIP) kicking and screaming. However, now seem to be pushing its EIP plan in a bigger way. EIP (which used to be called EDGE) accounted for 68% of Q4 post-pay subs vs. 58% in Q3. Hard part for VZ is this runway is still long only 16% of have converted vs. 37% of AT&T’s smartphone base on Next.  On 8/13 moved to an all EIP plan (for all new gross adds) and simplified price structure in easier to understand way. We believe this will be well received.  In 2015, seemedto be “protecting base” mode – leading on $80 for 10 GB. $20 below its closest peer (AT&T) .  VZ seems to be more in defensive mode of late. Stock was punished in Q2’15 because of this strategy as it had to lower revenue outlook by 100 basis points.  When you are on top it is hard to stay there!
  19. 19. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com SECTION V: 3 Trends to Watch for in 2016 & Beyond
  20. 20. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 20 THREE TRENDS TO WATCH FOR IN 2016 & BEYOND • 1) Expect to Visit the Cemetery of the “Unlimited” Plans….Days are Numbered – Expect TMUS and Sprint to sunset their unlimited plans very soon. – Unlimited plans = Dumb Pipes, in our view. AT&T and Verizon learned this. Others likely will too – especially as usage continues to grow at such an exponential rate. – In our view, carriers need to move to a metered pricing plan so they can participate in this usage growth. – This would allow the wireless model to shift from a subscriber driven one to an ARPA (Average Revenue Per Account) one. This is the shift carriers need to make (given the wireless industry is over 100% penetration) in order to realize further margin expansion, in our opinion. • 2) Spectrum, Spectrum, Spectrum – Watch the broadcast auction! – We believe there will be very little secondary market transactions before the quiet period begins for the broadcast auction (this quiet period started in January, 2016). – After completion of the broadcast auction (which we expect to last , 6+ months)– then expect a flutter of secondary market deals (trades, M&A, spectrum swaps, etc). • 3) Video, Video, Video – We expect AT&T and VZ to be pushing video hard through their respective OTT plans. – AT&T recently said video +60% of traffic running over T's global network, and nearing 70%. – Question if it is too little too late for Sprint and T-Mobile in this regard. – Does the carrier who owns wireline assets (like T and VZ) give them an inherent advantage in this regard?
  21. 21. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com SECTION VI: OK – I am Here to Talk To Tower Owners….So - How Does Wall Street View the Tower Industry?
  22. 22. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 22 Tower Model Snapshot Source: Wells Fargo Securities Estimates
  23. 23. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 23 What Investors USED TO Say About Tower Industry • Best business EVER….wish I thought of this! • The last bill carriers won’t pay is the tower bill. • Data is growing like a weed more cell sites will always be needed because of the lack of spectrum. • Tower companies always will have pricing power • Small cells are next leg of growth for towers • International is a good thing for tower companies because they will follow the US lead.
  24. 24. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 24 What Investors NOW Say About Tower Industry • Towers are business with decelerating growth…good days are behind it! • Carriers are pushing back hard & towers have less pricing power – Sprint – Re/Code Article and, more alarmingly, AT&T has been on “rant” against the tower model talking about tilting cell sites & bounty hunters (No…I am not joking!) • Data is growing like a weed – yes…but there are new ways to handle it…move the intelligence above the network (SDN) • Small cells are next leg of growth for wireless spending – but fiber cos. (not the towers) hold keys to the kingdom. • International has been a big-time headache for tower companies due to FX…..those with exposure to Brazil (American Tower & SBA) feeling most pain.
  25. 25. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 25 Bottom Line View on Towers from This (Crazy or Smart?) Analyst…. • Sentiment on sector has definitely shifted more negative. • BUT we still think towers have much leverage against carriers….. • Need evidence? Just look at the Cisco Visual Networking Index report (dated: 2/3/16). Many stats stand out which should allow you all to sleep well at night. Some include: – Smart mobile devices and connections are projected to represent 72% of total mobile devices and connections by 2020 -- up from 36% in 2015. – Globally, smart devices represented 36% of the total mobile devices and connections in 2015; they accounted for 89% of the mobile data traffic – Average smartphone usage grew 43% in 2015. The average amount of traffic per smartphone in 2015 was 929 MB per month, up from 648 MB per month in 2014. – In 2015, the number of mobile-connected tablets increased 1.3-fold to 133MM, and each tablet generated 2.8x more traffic than the average smartphone. In 2015, mobile data traffic per tablet was 2.6GB per month, compared to 929 MB per month per smartphone. • All this said - there is indeed a Game of Chicken being seen between carriers & tower cos…no question! Sprint is serious about pursuing a new architecture. But my guess is bigger worry for all of you – is AT&T. AT&T knows there is a large pool of tower developers, smaller tower coos etc. Seems to want to try to leverage its options and they know these companies desperately want AT&T business. We don’t expect AT&T to run back into tower companies arms quickly. They should but it may take some more time. Near term focus is on pushing wired / fiber connection in ground. • But – on good news side….Verizon & T-Mobile should continue to be your friend – not foe! BOTTOM LINE: Longer term there are MANY catalysts for this sector (more spectrum needs to be deployed, lots of naked spectrum not yet build, FirstNet, etc). But near term you could still see some sluggishness in carrier spending as they navigate their capital needs and overall network strategies. Carriers are under pressure in their own models (pricing, spectrum costs, etc.) so every penny spent on capital is being examined in a much more serious way!
  26. 26. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com 26 Disclosures To view price charts for all companies rated in this document, please go to https://www.wellsfargo.com/research or write to 7 Saint Paul Street, 1st Floor, R1230-011, Baltimore, MD 21202 ATTN: Research Publications Additional Information Available Upon Request I certify that: 1) All views expressed in this research report accurately reflect my personal views about any and all of the subject securities or issuers discussed; and 2) No part of my compensation was, is, or will be, directly or indirectly, related to the specific recommendations or views expressed by me in this research report. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC does not compensate its research analysts based on specific investment banking transactions. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC’s research analysts receive compensation that is based upon and impacted by the overall profitability and revenue of the firm, which includes, but is not limited to investment banking revenue. STOCK RATING 1=Outperform: The stock appears attractively valued, and we believe the stock's total return will exceed that of the market over the next 12 months. BUY 2=Market Perform: The stock appears appropriately valued, and we believe the stock's total return will be in line with the market over the next 12 months. HOLD 3=Underperform: The stock appears overvalued, and we believe the stock's total return will be below the market over the next 12 months. SELL SECTOR RATING O=Overweight: Industry expected to outperform the relevant broad market benchmark over the next 12 months. M=Market Weight: Industry expected to perform in-line with the relevant broad market benchmark over the next 12 months. U=Underweight: Industry expected to underperform the relevant broad market benchmark over the next 12 months. VOLATILITY RATING V = A stock is defined as volatile if the stock price has fluctuated by +/-20% or greater in at least 8 of the past 24 months or if the analyst expects significant volatility. All IPO stocks are automatically rated volatile within the first 24 months of trading. As of: February 19, 2016 44% of companies covered by Wells Fargo Securities, LLC Equity Research are rated Outperform. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC has provided investment banking services for 38% of its Equity Research Outperform-rated companies. 54% of companies covered by Wells Fargo Securities, LLC Equity Research are rated Market Perform. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC has provided investment banking services for 30% of its Equity Research Market Perform-rated companies. 2% of companies covered by Wells Fargo Securities, LLC Equity Research are rated Underperform. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC has provided investment banking services for 16% of its Equity Research Underperform-rated companies.
  27. 27. Jennifer Fritzsche (312) 920-3548 jennifer.fritzsche@wellsfargo.com Caleb Stein (312) 845-9797 caleb.stein@wellsfargo.com Eric Luebchow (312) 630-2386 eric.luebchow@wellsfargo.com Important Disclosure for International Clients EEA – The securities and related financial instruments described herein may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors. For recipients in the EEA, this report is distributed by Wells Fargo Securities International Limited (“WFSIL”). WFSIL is a U.K. incorporated investment firm authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For the purposes of Section 21 of the UK Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (“the Act”), the content of this report has been approved by WFSIL a regulated person under the Act. WFSIL does not deal with retail clients as defined in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2007. 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About Wells Fargo Securities Wells Fargo Securities is the trade name for the capital markets and investment banking services of Wells Fargo & Company and its subsidiaries, including but not limited to Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, a U.S. broker-dealer registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and a member of NYSE, FINRA, NFA and SIPC, Wells Fargo Prime Services, LLC, a member of FINRA, NFA and SIPC, Wells Fargo Securities Canada, Ltd., a member of IIROC and CIPF, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo Securities International Limited, authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This report is for your information only and is not an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, the securities or instruments named or described in this report. Interested parties are advised to contact the entity with which they deal, or the entity that provided this report to them, if they desire further information. 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