Getting Your Own Cell Tower
Steel in the Air has been serving property owners and local governments in lease negotiations against wireless carriers and cell tower companies for nearly 15 years. Our expertise consists of lease (and tower) valuation, lease negotiations, and brokerage.
Here is what we CANNOT help you with:
Getting a cell tower on your property – unless you have already been contacted by a wireless carrier or tower company who has expressed explicit interest in leasing a parcel of your land.
Marketing your cell tower or cell site to carriers – because you think it's valuable and would make a good location for a cell site.
We must be honest with hopeful landowners and relay the fact that anyone seeking a revenue-generating lease of this sort has less than a 1% of success. It's important to realize that wireless carriers perform due diligence before deciding where to lease land for potential cell sites. Wireless carriers spend significant money and resources designing systems around allocated radio frequency engineering standards that coincide with the licenses they own. They find sites specifically to enhance their existing networks; they build cell towers in locations that they know will serve a certain population base, or augment their existing network infrastructure or technology deployment strategies. Their search for locations is purposeful and intentional. If you have been contacted by a wireless carrier who is interested in leasing your land, you should understand that your property is valuable, but your neighbor's might be as well. Contact us to discuss how to best negotiate your position. However, if you have not been contacted, then we cannot help - no matter how good of a site you have. It is simply not a service that we offer.
Factors that Wireless Carriers Consider When Choosing Cell Site Locations
- Distance to Adjacent Towers: If existing cell phone towers are within one mile of your location, chances are slim another will be built. Local zoning jurisdictions require use of existing towers first. If there are no towers nearby, then your property is more desirable.
- Dense Population or High Traffic Counts: If your location is surrounded by either an urban or suburban population or near roadways with high traffic counts, your property may be more desirable. If you are in a rural area and are not within 1/2 mile of a major highway or a town with a population of 2,000 or more, you probably won't get a cell phone tower on your property.
- Zoning: Many jurisdictions (counties, towns, cities) have zoning ordinances that allow communication towers. If your property is an industrial parcel surrounded by residential property, the likelihood that a wireless carrier could use your property increases. Likewise, if you have a residentially zoned property surrounded by industrial property, the likelihood decreases. Contact your local planning, zoning, or community development office first to find out if your property even meets the requirements.
Factors that Would Deter Wireless Carriers from Leasing Your Property
- Your property is farmland surrounded by other farmland, unless you are within ¼ mile of a 4-lane road.
- Your property is a rooftop space that is less than 30 feet taller than any building in within a one-mile radius.
- Your property is residentially zoned.
- Your property is located on the highest point in the county.
- Your property is located in area that doesn't have any cell phone coverage. It's probably because the carriers have opted not to cover those areas that don't meet certain business criteria.
How to Contact Companies Directly
Some carriers and tower companies do provide contact information or website to which you can submit your land for lease consideration:
Crown Castle http://www.crowncastle.com/contact-us/landowner-contact.aspx
You can submit a site to Sprint/Nextel via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
US Cellular ATTN: Friendlies Administrator/ 5117 W Terrace Drive/ Madison, WI 53718
You can also attempt to contact the carriers directly, which will be nearly impossible - or try placing a sign on your property stating you have property for lease for a cell tower. Then, just be patient. We advise against signing up with property listing and site management services. Quite frankly, it will simply be a waste of money.