Number of Cell Towers Expected to Grow Significantly by 2010


CTIA figures show that the number of cell towers is expected to grow from 175,000 to 260,000 in 2010. That represents a 48% increase.

It is clear that many municipalities expected that the growth of cell towers had slowed- not increased in pace. We spoke to a planner director in a top 10 city who suggested that she currently had 85 new applications in- and that the shear number of applications were preventing her from focusing on other planning matters. (She also said that some of the site ac/zoning contractors were some of her worst constituents to deal with- apparently they believe they are entitled to immediate review and can’t understand that they are in line). [Read more…]

Cell Carriers and Tower Companies all Joining the Renegotiation Fray

In the last few weeks, I have received inquiries from a number of cell site lease holders who have been approached to renegotiate their cell site lease.

The reasons for these requests run the gambit from funny to just outright sad. Sometimes, there is a legitimate reason- such as the fact that Cingular and AT&T merged or that Sprint and Nextel merged. [Read more…]

Et tu, Crown Castle?

I have been contacted by numerous landowners who have received calls or letters from Crown Castle. These calls or letters attempt to convince the Crown Castle ground lease owner that the tower is “under-performing” and that the landowner needs to accept a reduction in rent to assure the continued use of the tower. Crown Castle actually goes as far as sharing their revenue from the tower and their expenses to operate the structure. [Read more…]

Verizon Cell Phone Tower Leases Expiring in Sizeable Numbers

It appears that many of the initial Verizon’s cell phone tower leases are getting ready to expire over the next few years. This includes a number of towers acquired by Crown Castle. Although hardly empirical- our data suggests that Verizon is waiting to approach many landowners until a few months prior to the expiration of their cell phone tower leases. [Read more…]

Recent Statistics on Cell Use in the US

“According to a Merrill Lynch report published at the end of 2005, the United States is enjoying a year-over-year growth of 14%. It is number three in the world in the number of wireless subscribers (behind China and a combined Europe) with a penetration rate of just over 67%. The average revenue per customer is $56, moving upward (we are number four in the world in this category), and we have the highest average number of voice minutes of any country: 781 minutes per month per subscriber compared to Canada and Hong Kong, tied for second place at 393 minutes.”

From Andrew Seybold’s Commentary 4Mobility 04-20-06 “Musings Around the Industry”

Cell Tower Industry Partially Responsible for Difficulty Zoning Towers

One Disclaimer: This following commentary is my opinion and, since Steel in the Air is my company, it’s Steel in the Air’s opinion too.

I have read articles regarding the need for legislation on the federal level calling for increased federal power to override local land use law for cell tower placement. While I fully agree that some municipal planning boards/city councils deny almost every cell site that comes before them- I don’t believe that increased federal guidance is the answer, nor do I believe that the FCC should usurp the ability of local government to guide the time place and manner in which towers/cell sites are allowed. [Read more…]

Global Signal/ Sprint Tower Lease To Easement Conversions

Global Signal recently purchased through a long term lease 6000+ cell phone towers from Sprint PCS. In response to these transactions, Global Signal has approached landowners requesting that they sell out the interest in the ground lease for the cell phone tower to Global Signal in return for a lump sum payment and a assignment of lease. [Read more…]

Blackdot and Cingular offer Landowners the Opportunity to Remove Their Own Tower

Landowners with cell tower leases who are being hit with termination notices from the “NEW” Cingular are now being granted one new opportunity. The offers come from Blackdot accompanied with the termination of the lease letter. These offers if you can call them that have BlackDot offering to market the tower site to other carriers in return for the landowner taking over the responsibilty to remove the tower at the end of the 2 year marketing term. [Read more…]

Municipalities Undervalue Cell Tower Leases by Bidding

I recently read another story about a municipality that created an auction to bid off the rights to lease its wireless properties. The municipality- which will remain nameless- provided an RFP to the wireless carriers to gauge interest for its municipal properties. The story was written from the perspective of how successful this auction was because they received 3 bids- none on the same properties. [Read more…]