A Wireless Carrier Sending out Threatening Letters to Landowners

A unnamed wireless carrier who has recently merged has been sending out letters to landowners with leases for a cell tower on their property alleging that due to consolidation of assets, that the landowner must take a 45% to 75% reduction in rent if they want to continue receiving any income. The letter is written in a way to suggest that if the landowner fails to renegotiate the lease, that there is a significant chance that the lease will be terminated.

This carrier appears to be sending these letters out to every tower lease holder within certain regions of the country. What is disturbing is that in some of these areas, one of the merged carriers was not even operating prior to the merger and as such, there are no assets to consolidate. I don’t believe that these scare tactics are ethical and feel sorry for the rural farmer who needs the lease income but has no way to verify whether or not these threats are real.

To make matters worse, this carrier has turned over the letter writing campaign to a third party company who is probably operating on a contingency arrangement. Some of my landowners have related the claims that agents of this company have been making and they are bull. This is akin to the lease buyout companies claiming that satellites will make towers obsolete within a few years.

Bad business in my opinion.

2 comments

  1. I work for a church at the crest of a big hill by a freeway in Massachusetts. We have ATTW / Cingular gear on our bell tower. We just got contacted by Black Dot. They didn’t have any threatening language or discussion of network consolidation, but they offered to reduce our monthly payments by a third in return for a longer buyout period if they do shut down the tower. They call this their “lease optimization program.”

    I am guessing they need our location. We do need Cingular’s money — which we use for community service and utility bills, etc.

    What’s the scoop on these Black Dot people? The letter says they “represent Cingular.” It doesn’t say they exclusively represent them. It seems like they’re trying to save Cingular some money by renegotiating landlord payments. Are we running a big risk of cancellation if we refuse their kind offer of renegotiation?

  2. Ollie,

    To my knowledge, BlackDot does have full authority on behalf of Cingular to negotiate these types of lease reductions on their behalf.

    The question of whether Cingular would terminate if you choose not to negotiate is not a question I can answer generically. The rumors are that between 6,000 to 12,000 sites will be terminated/consolidated out of the combined 50,000 sites in the network.

    Whether your site is one of those that will be terminated depends upon your lease rate, the proximity to other AT&T/Cingular sites in the area, difficulty of replacing this site, and the length of time left on the lease.

    If you wish to get a better answer, please review the remainder of my website or do a google search on Black Dot Wireless. Please note that I have assisted over 100 clients with these lease “renegotiations” including a number of churches.

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