What are Cell Tower Lease Rates in 2022?
Looking for help to calculate the accurate rent value of a new cell phone tower ground lease, rooftop cell site or existing cell site where a cell tower is being upgraded, a lease is being amended or lease agreement needs to be extended?
What are cell tower lease rates in 2022? Is there a range? Is there an average? That’s a loaded question! Not all cell site rent valuations are the same and can vary significantly. Cell tower lease rates are calculated based on many factors and are determined on a site by site basis.
Is it a lease for a newly proposed cell phone tower being built by a cell tower developer for American Tower, Crown Castle, Vertical Bridge or SBA Communications? Is the cell site being developed by a carrier and is the lease agreement directly between DISH Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, US Cellular or Verizon Wireless and the property owner? Is the property or building inside of the city limits, in a town with a tough wireless zoning ordinance, or does the property fall under county land use guidelines? Is the location zoned commercial, agricultural or residential? What’s the topography like? How is the site’s proximity and access to fiberoptic service? Is it an existing cell tower with a single carrier subtenant, or is it a mature multi-carrier cell phone tower with a lease expiration date approaching?
Lease Rate Examples in the Same County
Here’s an example from the same county from 2021, the four cell site rents shown below are all from the same cellular carrier at four separate cell site locations leased back in 2021. Remember… The cell site lease rates shown below are from the same wireless carrier, and in the same county. They should all be very similar, right?
- $19,200 annually / $1,600 per month
- $22,000 annually / $1,833 per month
- $24,000 annually / $2,000 per month
- $36,000 annually / $3,000 per month
So what’s the difference in cell site values? These 4 cell phone tower locations are situated within less than one hour’s drive apart from one another in the same county, with the same cellular carrier, yet they vary widely in rent value. The site-specific cell tower lease rental value is always determined by the laws of wireless economics, that is, supply of viable properties to place the cell site, within the search ring or coverage area, and the demand or need for voice and date coverage in the area. There are no cookie-cutter cell tower rent values with the exception of some government agencies who we have seen calculate rent differently. But for the rest of us, cell tower lease rates are not determined by the amount of square feet used, they are not calculated by counting the number of antennas, or by the amount, size or weight of ground equipment, or by the amount of traffic, population density or number of cars that drive past a location daily. Cell tower lease values are determined on a site by site basis, based on the laws of wireless economics, supply and demand. If a carrier has little choice on where they can install a cell tower or cell site, they will tend to have to pay more if the property owner negotiates well or receives sound advice. And the carriers and cell tower development companies will pay much lower rents if they have plenty of choices of available properties and willing property owners ready to sign a cell site lease agreement.
While many in the wireless leasing industry will claim there is a “range” that is only partially correct. There is an average price which is proprietary to the wireless carriers and cell phone tower companies, but you can literally have a town, “Anywhere, USA” that has a total of two cell sites, with one cell site leasing for $600 monthly and have a second cell tower 2 miles away with the same tower management company or exact same cellular carrier(s) renting for $4,000 per month. Saying that the “average cell tower lease rate for this area is $2,300 per month” is mathematically correct, but it grossly misrepresents the value of both cell site locations.
This is the cell tower lease rate formula we use at Tower Genius to calculate and determine cell tower rent values:
Higher Demand For Coverage + Lower Supply of Available Property Sites = Higher Cell Tower Rents For Property Owners & Landlords
- What’s the Demand for Coverage? What is the need aka demand for wireless coverage? Are a lot of people in your neighborhood complaining to Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint about dropping calls, or do you have poor coverage?
- What’s the Supply of Available Locations? Where are nearby cell sites located? What other choices does the carrier have in the area? What are limiting factors such as zoning ordinance, setbacks, terrain, size of parcel, wetlands, mountains, etc.?
- What’s theTopography? How hard will it be to cover the area based on geography?
- What About Aesthetics? What will the visual impact be and what are local wireless ordinances requiring?
- What About Competing Sites? Is yours the only tall building with a flat rooftop in the area or are you competing against other possible candidates?
- What About Price Per Square Foot? Square foot price is NOT how cell tower lease values are calculated.
Tower Genius can help you to calculate the value of your:
- Verizon Wireless cell tower lease
- AT&T cell tower lease
- T-Mobile cell tower lease
- U.S. Cellular cell site lease
- DISH Wireless cell site lease
- American Tower cell phone tower lease
- Crown Castle cell phone tower lease
- SBA Communications cell phone tower lease
- Vertical Bridge cell phone tower lease
- Rooftop 5G small cells with Verizon Wireless & AT&T
“LEASE VALUE CALCULATOR FORMULA = What they want you to know ÷ WHAT WE KNOW”