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Cellular tower giant Crown Castle International this week touted third-quarter financial results that officials said exceeded previous estimates.

The Houston-based tower operator reported adjusted earnings of $605 million, up 7 percent compared to the third quarter of 2016. Net income climbed 17 percent over that span to $115 million, with 10 percent increases in both revenues from site rentals and adjusted funds from operations.

"We delivered another quarter of excellent financial results that demonstrate the strong operating performance of our business, exceeding our previously provided outlook for site rental revenues, net income, adjusted EBITDA and AFFO," CCI CEO Jay Brown said in a statement.

CCI executives also noted that the company increased its common stock dividend based on expectations of continued growth and the pending acquisition of Lightower Fiber Networks.

"Based on the strong demand we see across each of towers, small cells and fiber, we expect revenue growth to accelerate driven by an increase in new leasing activity in 2018," Brown said.

Wells Fargo Senior Analyst Jennifer Fritzsche wrote in a note that the CCI results — the first from the third quarter to be reported by a large tower company — were "solid."

"While total revenue was light of our estimate, we highlight it was driven by lower network services than rental revs," Fritzsche wrote.

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