Wireless Carriers

Wireless Carriers (“Wireless Communications Service Providers”? or “Mobile Network Operators”?) are companies who own and/or operate infrastructure that provides wireless voice and data services to subscribers. Wireless carriers bid for and are awarded licenses by the FCC for specific spectrum frequencies that allow them to serve a designated area of potential subscribers (POPs)1. In the United States, there are four major wireless carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, and a handful of smaller wireless carriers.

Top U.S. Wireless Carriers


Cell Sites


120,000,000 57,000

Verizon Wireless

114,000,000 45,000


57,500,000 50,000-70,000**


57,000,000 55,000

U.S. Cellular

5,000,000 8,250

C-Spire Wireless

1,000,000 1,500


275,000 998

*Source: FCC Annual State of the Wireless Industry Report: December 2014. Please note that numbers are approximate.

**Total count may include Clearwire and Nextel sites.

Are you curious about the wireless industry? Read our featured article: “The History of U.S. Wireless Carriers”

Wireless carriers provide services to their subscribers through the use of cellular sites, which may be placed on towers, rooftops, or on other structures like water tanks or billboards. They either own the cell towers themselves (e.g. AT&T and Verizon) or have recently sold their towers to separate tower companies (e.g. Sprint and T-Mobile).

When carriers contact landowners, building owners and tower owners, it is typically with the following requests:

Steel in the Air can assist you with any questions relating to any aspect of cellular lease negotiations. We look forward to working with you.