AT&T (via BlackDot), is contacting tower owners and landowners and trying to convince them to renegotiate their leases. If you have read our previous content- there isn’t much new to this renegotiation story except for the following letter that they provided to one of our clients.
The highlighted part is the interesting part- AT&T claims to have terminated 630 sites for economic and operational reasons. This is intended to suggest to the tower owner that their AT&T lease is at risk of termination. Certainly, some AT&T leases have been terminated and more will be terminated due to build-to-relo tower companies (private tower companies who build new towers adjacent to existing towers where AT&T is collocated so that AT&T can relocate). However, we also suspect that AT&T is being coy here- there are also Cricket terminations that are being terminated solely because they aren’t needed. Further, as noted in our previous article Who Built the Most Cell Towers in the US Over the Last Six Months, Tillman Infrastructure (one of the largest Build-to-Relo tower companies) appears to have slowed down new construction. In other words, we may have seen the peak of tower relocation in 2019.
If you own a tower in a rural area with a high lease rate, there can be scenarios where AT&T could move if you don’t renegotiate. However, in most cases, it doesn’t make sense for them to do so and landowners and tower owners can safely tell Blackdot they aren’t interested in revising their terms. If you aren’t sure what to do- we can help. Give us a call and we will review your situation and let you know whether there is anything to worry about. If there is, we can be retained to evaluate the situation further.
(Steel in the Air is not affiliated with either Blackdot or AT&T)