What is a Cell Tower Worth?
It’s not about what a cell tower is worth.
It’s about what the cell phone tower on your property is worth.
If you are here, you are probably trying to figure
out how much you should charge for cell tower rent.
What is a cell tower worth? And more importantly what’s my lease really worth?
Get your cell tower lease questions answered by Kevin or Steve.
If you are reading this you have probably wondered what is a cell tower worth. Maybe you never thought about cell towers before and somebody called you or sent you a letter asking you if you would consider leasing space on your land to have a cell tower built?
All of a sudden as you go about your day you begin to locate cell towers you will start seeing them everywhere. They are located in places that you did not notice before. Why? Because cell towers are sighted and deployed to blend into their environment and for the most part, they become a part of the everyday landscape and we forget to notice them. There are some exceptions, like the big ugly cell tower “tree poles” that some towns force carriers to build. It’s funny that people will always remember the ugly tree cell towers when the purpose was for them to “blend in”. Yet if I asked you how many plain old steel cell towers there are in your county or are on your way to work, you probably could not be able to answer. How many wooden telephone poles did you drive by this week? I bet you never even thought of that. Why? Because wood poles are a part of the natural landscape.
Some cell towers are traditional monopoles, some are lattice towers with three legs, and some are guyed wire towers with wires anchored into the ground like a circus tent. Some cell towers are in plain sight and some are concealed, camouflaged or “stealthed” to hide their presence. Some cell sites on rooftops are so well concealed that you could drive by them thousands of times and never know that it was a cellular site.
Our society is literally addicted to its wireless communication devices. Whether or not that is a good thing or a bad thing, time will tell. However one thing is for certain, the smartphone is perhaps one of the greatest inventions of our lifetime, and the network that billions of dollars worth of voice and data traffic run through every day can’t function without cell towers and cell sites.
What Exactly is a Cell Tower?
- Cell towers can range from 10′ “lollipop” type macro micro or small cell towers to 400′ towers tied into base station radio equipment that transmit voice and data to nearby devices. For this website, we don’t want to get too technical. What is important to understand is that every cell tower or cell site has to be located somewhere. The tower company or cellular carrier either needs to own the land or structure that the tower is installed on, or they have to lease that land or rooftop space. In the USA, the vast majority of cell tower and cell site locations are leased. The lease prices and business terms will vary based on many factors. That’s where our firm can save you the headaches of doing all the research trying to determine values and leasing strategies.
How much do Cell Towers lease monthly?
Many consultants will tell you that there is a range of cell tower lease rent values. This is simply not true. Every cell tower lease valuation is determined on a site-by-site basis. There is however a formula.
- Direct carrier cell site leases with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile Sprint, US Cellular, and DISH Wireless will generally pay more money than a cell tower developer lease who is building the tower for these carriers. We’ve seen rooftop cell sites lease for $500 and $1,000 and we’ve seen rooftop cell sites lease for $8,200 per month. Location location location as they say. Your location’s value is unique to your surroundings and other factors.
- Cell tower developer leases where your Tenant is a cell tower company, and they have Subtenants, these will generally pay you less rent than a direct Verizon Wireless, AT&T, or T-Mobile lease. But you can still get a great deal if you play your cards correctly.
- Smaller or medium-sized cellular tower companies will typically build a portfolio of towers that are sold to large cell tower management firms such as American Tower, Crown Castle, SBA Communications, and others. Often a cell tower lease agreement that was negotiated for less than favorable terms with a small rural cell tower company can be renegotiated for significantly better terms ten or fifteen years after the cell tower is built. So even if a cell tower landlord did not get a great deal on the original lease, perhaps only $500 per month which is a very common starting rent in rural areas, and they are now receiving $661 per month, with the right lease and business terms they can often lock in a very favorable lease extension after the has matured. Think of the process like you are climbing stairs and stepping up incrementally.