Welcome to Steel in the Air, your trusted source for cellular lease negotiations, lease valuations, and lease buyouts. We dedicate this website to the landowners we serve, and have done our very best to make it a reputable public resource for the telecom industry – in specific landowners, building owners and local governments.



During the five-year period from 1996-2001, the United States showed its sharpest increase in cell tower growth (30K cell sites in 1996 surged to 127K in 2001). The Telecom Act of 1996 resulted in an era that was remarkably similar to the Wild West – wireless carriers and cell tower companies embarked upon an aggressive nationwide race to claim as many cell site locations as they could. (The major dissimilarity between the Wild West and the Telecom Era was that during the latter period, the land acquired was not meant to be simply a means of sustenance, but in every way, was meant for profit). The demand for cell towers was high and the suppliers (the tower companies) had to struggle to keep up. For a while, chaos ensued, along with a lot of shady marketing and deceptive business practices. In an effort to stay ahead of the game, tower companies would imply that they had actually built towers on cell site locations before they were, in fact, constructed.

Wireless carriers would arrive at the site location, expecting to see a tower, yet no tower would exist. Tired of being misled by the tower companies, the wireless carriers soon began to ask, “Is there steel in the air?” If steel was indeed in the air, in other words, a cell tower was built and ready to go, then carriers were able to service the ever-growing demand of their customer base.
In 2004, after having provided site acquisition, zoning, and permitting services on behalf of Nextel, T-Mobile, and a number of tower companies (and learning everything there was to know about telecom leases and the industry players who served the market), Ken Schmidt noticed a unique niche that needed to be filled. Steel in the Air was created in 2004 with the explicit purpose of representing landowners who were involved in contracting with wireless carriers and/or cell tower companies to lease a parcel of their property for the purpose of developing cell sites. When thinking of a name for his company, Ken wanted it to express a dual meaning. “Steel in the Air” is industry slang for ‘a tower has been erected’ (as opposed to ‘a tower has been planned’) and also symbolizes the strength of community and economic empowerment available to individual property owners and municipalities.



Steel in the Air is company that follows a code of ethics – because we know that it is the most efficient and lucrative way to practice any kind of industry.


Steel in the Air partners with Steel Tree Partners, a cell tower brokerage firm specializing in the valuation of cell towers for investors, appraisers and portfolio managers. If you own your own cell tower and would like help with valuation, please let us know.

Steel in the Air is affiliated with CityScape, a company dedicated to strategically serving municipal governments in all aspects of cellular lease negotiations and wireless communications infrastructure deployment plans. We advise and educate our clients on industry dynamics, including FCC regulations, and how to best position themselves in negotiations with wireless carriers and cell tower companies.

In February 2010, Steel in the Air formed a joint venture with SiteXCell, an Australian cell tower and cell site consulting firm who shares our mission of helping property owners in negotiations against wireless carriers, tower companies and lease buyout companies.


Beyond those partners listed above, we have access to specialists in broadcast towers, microwave networks, fiber optic networks, and tower construction that we regularly rely upon when a client has a matter outside of our core area of expertise.

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