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Communications Infrastructure REIT

SBA Communications is an American Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that owns and operates wireless communications infrastructure. This includes towers, buildings, distributed antenna systems (DAS), small cells, and other related infrastructure. Its operations are primarily found in the Americas, but the company also has activities in Africa and Asia. The company operates in two primary segments: Site Leasing and Site Development. It is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, and its shares are listed on the Nasdaq.

Expansion of Services

SBA Communications was founded in 1989 and initially focused on on-site management for wireless service providers. Over time, it expanded its services to include the development and operation of wireless communications towers. The company played a significant role in the expansion and enhancement of wireless networks, particularly in the United States. In the late 1990s, SBA Communications started owning and operating its towers, a diversification that marked a significant evolution in its business model. This move positioned SBA as a key player in the wireless infrastructure industry, especially with the rapid growth of mobile telephony and data services in the early 21st century. The company has provided services for customers such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and several other large communications companies.

The two Business Segments

  • Site Leasing: This involves leasing antenna space on multi-tenant communication towers to a variety of wireless service providers under long-term lease contracts. These tenants typically include cellular, PCS, wireless data, and video companies. The leasing model provides a steady income for SBA, as these spaces are crucial for wireless providers to maintain and expand their network coverage. SBA manages a vast portfolio of tower sites, offering its clients the necessary infrastructure to ensure robust wireless communication services.

  • Site Development: This segment focuses on offering services related to the development of wireless communication sites. It encompasses activities like site identification, acquiring zoning approvals, and providing construction services for wireless communication towers. SBA's expertise in site development helps in minimizing the challenges and delays often associated with the construction and activation of new sites, thereby facilitating the expansion of wireless networks.

SBA Communications is an REIT

A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a company that owns, operates, or finances income-generating real estate. Among other rules, REITs are legally required to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends. This structure allows individual investors to earn dividends from real estate investments without needing to buy, manage, or finance any properties themselves.