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American Tower expands US footprint in $4.8 billion deal

American Tower Corp. chief executive officer James D. Taiclet called the deal a first step in a next phase of acquisitions.
American Tower Corp. chief executive officer James D. Taiclet called the deal a first step in a next phase of acquisitions.Essdras M Suarez/Globe staff

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As smartphone usage surges, the cell tower behemoth American Tower Corp. plans to invest $4.8 billion to gain a much bigger stake of the lucrative business of delivering high-speed, wireless data.

The Boston-based company has agreed to buy Global Tower Partners of Boca Raton, Fla., for $3.3 billion in cash, and assume $1.5 billion of debt, to acquire some 5,400 domestic towers in places such as New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., in anticipation that all major wireless carriers will continue to boost their infrastructure to meet consumer demands for speedy access to the Web via mobile devices.

The deal increases American Tower’s wireless tower count by 25 percent in the United States, adding to the roughly 56,000 towers that it owns globally.

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