Sprint Lease Terminations

In 2005, Sprint purchased Nextel and rebranded as Sprint Nextel, making it the fourth-largest wireless telecom company in the U.S. In 2013, following the shutdown of the Nextel network, the company re-adopted the Sprint name. In 2012, when the company was still Sprint Nextel, they began to terminate cell site leases that had become redundant as a result of the initial merger.

Nextel termination letters have been sent to landowners with Nextel towers or to building owners with Nextel leases on their rooftops. These letters are from Black Dot Wireless and perhaps other lease optimization companies. The letters state that the Nextel lease is being terminated, as part of the list of sites that Sprint claims are no longer necessary as a result of the Sprint Nextel merger or due to Sprint’s conversion to its Network Vision technology platform.

The letters state that the property owner has the option to decide whether Nextel should remove the equipment or let it remain. They suggest that by allowing the equipment to remain on the location, that Blackdot Wireless will then be able to market the Nextel site to other carriers who could then reuse the equipment. What the letters don’t say is that in the event that Black Dot is unable to find replacement tenants, that the equipment stays on site and is thereafter the building owner’s or ground owner’s problem to deal with. They also don’t state that the equipment and antennas used by Nextel have little to no value to the other carriers, and may actually be costly to remove.

In essence, this is a win-win situation for Black Dot and Sprint. Sprint saves $15,000 to $25,000 in removal costs and avoids potentially difficult decommissioning of intertwined equipment. Blackdot enters into a marketing agreement with the landowner or rooftop owner where they get a percentage of any future tenants who would use the site ‐ even if the carrier approached the landowner or building owner without even talking to Black Dot. For the landowner, this "opportunity" is a lose-lose situation. If Black Dot is unsuccessful with finding other tenants, the building owner or landowner would have to figure out how to remove the unusable equipment at a cost of $15,000 or more. If another wireless carriers is interested in the rooftop or the tower site, Black Dot gets a percentage of revenue even if they did nothing.

You don’t need to retain us to tell you not to enter into one of these bad Sprint termination deals. If you want the equipment to stay on the roof or property, just contact Sprint directly and agree that they don’t have to remove it. But don’t enter into any agreement that includes a marketing component from a company that promises to replace Sprint. Chances are any company that is interested in your site will find your site regardless of whether your site is being "marketed."

If you have a tower on your property that was owned by Sprint-Nextel, please reach out to us. In rare cases, it might be worth taking a further look at before Sprint terminates their lease with you.