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WiWCell Site Leasing Information

Cell site leasing information (1) (2) (3) (Help! with cell site lease questions) (Government agencies) (Cell site lease sales)

What's the carrier's viewpoint these days on leasing property?
"Carriers - all of them - are strapped for cash right now but things are picking up a little. (July, 2004) They just aren't building much, so they weigh each poor service area very carefully, and only build out those areas that will get them the most money. And new service areas have higher priority than existing service areas, even though the service there is poor. The carriers are catering to the stock market. You may think the users of the cellphones who pay the bills would be the carriers' customers, but you'd be wrong. The stock market is what matters. And covering more pops (population) is more attractive to Wall Street than improving existing service. Get it? It's more important, in other words, to claim a higher market share, bigger numbers, than it is to claim better service."
Don't get a contract like this. Get professional advice!

Hi Mark,

Q. My family recently inherited a cell tower lease being held by a company that I will not name here. After doing some research, mainly reading your responses on the website, I am starting to wonder if they gave us a real lowball deal. The guyed tower is 300 feet tall, sitting on an 80' x 80' piece of land. My grandmother was being paid $350 dollars a month with four options to renew the lease for 5 year periods, which will increase by 10% each period. The contract language looks really bad. Seems to exclude us from collecting any share of the subleasing the company does at the site. It also looks like there is also an amendment that prohibits us from selling the land. Get this:

"Lessor's transfer or sale of all or part of the Leased Premises to a family member for bona fide estate planning purposes shall not be subject to the Lessee's Right of First Refusal as set forth above, provided that upon such Transfer the family member honors the terms of this Agreement and, when requested by the Lessee, executes and delivers a new lease agreement, as between Lessee and such family member, setting forth and confirming the terms and conditions of this Lease."

Does that line in the amendment give any room for negotiation? I'm just afraid that an old lady was taken advantage of and there is nothing we can do about it! Of course, for all I know, this could be a perfectly normal deal. Thanks a lot for your time and any info would be great!

A. You need to ask a lawyer about the legal considerations. As to the fairness of the deal, I don't think that sounds very good. Please note, I don't have any direct experience in Louisiana, and prices do vary from one part of the country to another, but that's the lowest amount for a tower I've ever heard of. $500 is the next lowest, and the $800 to $1500 range is more typical. Also, the tower owners HATE to pay shared rents, but they will if they can't get it any other way.

Whether the terms can be renegotiated or not is a question for a lawyer or tower consultant. (Though I'd be surprised if they left themselves open that way.)

If you can negotiate, you've got them in a difficult spot. They've already shelled out to build the tower, and that ain't cheap. It includes costs for finding the site, negotiating the lease, and getting it zoned. So if you can renegotiate, get 10-25% of the other rentals. That's typical. Don't be greedy - you might lose it all. Tower companies are not in good financial shape.

But it does sound to me like an old lady was taken advantage of.


Did you know?
[Why don't rural properties have value? Click here for a full explanation. (internal link)]

Any other possibilities?
Q. A cellular company was interested in my property but no longer. They say there is a problem with my site. It's good in one direction for them but not another. Am I wasting my time pursuing another wireless provider?
A. Are you wasting your time? The short answer is maybe, maybe not. What doesn't work for one carrier is sometimes just what another carrier is looking for. So if you decide to pursue it, get the latitude and longitude of your location ( a hand held GPS is fine) and contact ALL the carriers that serve your area. Don't overlook telecommunications companies other than cellular. Long distance companies need microwave towers. So do state police agencies. They also need radio towers. So do utilities, sometimes. A lot of regional natural gas companies use microwave links to carry telemetry. Got any pipelines in your neighborhood? It all depends on the terrain in your area. Your location may be great, usable, or useless to various companies. So you may be wasting your time, or you may be investing in an ongoing income. I can't tell you from here. But good luck on the search and I wish you well.
Mark van der Hoek
Anything else that's helpful to read?
Yes. This article is excellent. It's written by attorney Alexander Olsansky, Jr for lawyers but there's good information on how to deal with a wireless carrier. It's off my site but you can always come back:
Negotiating Cell Tower Leases from the Property Owner's Perspective: (external link)
I need help! With my contract, with negotiating . . .
You certainly do. Deal with a wireless specialist. (internal link) seems competent and their website has good information. Ken Schmidt has been very helpful answering reader's questions. Check them out as you would any other business.
Steel In The Air graphic

Steel In The (external link). Consulting for carriers, tower companies, and property owners. Have you been approached by a carrier? Are you re-nogotiating a lease? Do you want to market your property to the wireless industry? Click here for more information at (internal link.
Visit Ken's blog!, current comments on the tower lease trade. Click here to go there (external link)
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Cell site leasing information (1) (2) (3) (Help! with cell site lease questions) (Government agencies) (Cell site lease sales) logo West Sacramento, California, USA. A Tom Farley production





(external link)

Ken Schmidt's company helps with negotiating prospective cell tower leases and renegotiating or selling existing ones. He can't find a wireless carrier for your property but if you've been approached by one, act quickly and visit his site now. Highly recommended.

Visit Ken's blog!, current comments on the tower lease trade. Click here to go there (external link)