T-Mobile announced that it reached an agreement to lease out cellular towers to help fund its ongoing shift to an LTE network.

Wireless operator Crown Castle is paying T-Mobile $2.4 billion to lease more than 7,200 of the carrier's cellular towers.

The agreement gives Crown Castle exclusive control to operate and lease the towers for the next 28 years, with the option to purchase the towers for an additional $2.4 billion when the terms expire.

Crown Castle is quite pleased with the deal, saying that with the new towers it now controls 83 percent of towers for the top 100 U.S. markets, and 72 percent of the top 50 markets.

LTE is the goal

T-Mobile will use the funds from its leased cellular towers to help fund its ongoing LTE plans.

"T-Mobile USA is working aggressively to make our 4G network stronger, faster and more dependable for consumers, and this transaction will support our ongoing $4 billion network modernization initiative that is the cornerstone of this effort as we work tirelessly to continue to deliver our amazing 4G services nationwide," T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere said.

As part of those plans, earlier this year T-Mobile signed a deal with Verizon to purchase AWS spectrum holdings that will expand the carrier's 4G LTE reach to 60 million customers in 15 of the country's top 25 markets.

T-Mobile previously pledged $4 billion toward expanding its LTE network for 2013, with this deal adding another $2.4 billion to those plans as the carrier gears up to compete with giants like Verizon and AT&T.

Via T-Mobile