There are three main reasons that landowners, venue owners, and local governments consult with us regarding AT&T Tower Leases:
AT&T representatives or site acquisition agents may have contacted you to acquire a wireless tower lease on your property. In the past 5 years, this company has added approximately 10,000 cell sites – of which 20-30% are new AT&T wireless towers. The remainder are rooftop installations or collocations. In the next 5 years, we anticipate that AT&T will be adding 6,500 or so new macrocells of which 2,000 or so will be new cell towers:
If you have received an AT&T cell tower land lease proposal for a new location, here is how we can help:
If you are already party to an AT&T cell tower land lease, then you have almost certainly been contacted by AT&T in recent years with requests for you to “Consent” to the modification of equipment on the tower or on your rooftop or other structures. Currently AT&T has approximately 67,000 cell sites across the US and on an average basis, they are making modifications to 20,000 of them each year. AT&T’s reps will contact you with a request for consent to make modifications. They frequently represent that they are authorized under the lease to make these modifications even in cases where the lease clearly provides that they don’t have that right. We assist our clients with:
With 67,000 towers and sites in existence and with AT&T starting building towers in the early 1990s, a number of existing AT&T cell site leases are coming up for expiration over the next 5-10 years. Both AT&T and Crown Castle (who acquired AT&T towers both from Bell South and AT&T previously) are contacting landowners to extend their leases. Crown Castle is also offering to purchase AT&T tower leases. If you have received an AT&T lease proposal for the extension of a cell phone tower lease, here is how we can help:
In May 2014, AT&T announced its acquisition of Direct TV, and a few months later Isucell (a Mexican telecom), resulting in a pullback of its aggressive build plans. During the second half of 2014 and continuing through mid-2016, with a few rare exceptions, most of AT&T site acquisition negotiation efforts stopped altogether – although the carrier did continue to upgrade existing sites with equipment modifications. Flash forward to mid-2016: we have started to see some new growth from AT&T, although it is nowhere near as lively as it was a year ago. Our expectations are that AT&T will continue to build new cell sites and towers at a reduced but accelerating rate throughout the rest of the 2016. As of August of 2016, there hasn’t been much activity.
For those of you lucky enough to be contacted by AT&T directly, we recommend moving forward with lease negotiations as quickly as possible. In addition to paying fair market rents, AT&T favors long-term leases.
When it comes to site modifications, AT&T isn’t as transparent as we would like. It’s very common for the process to happen as such: You will receive a simple one-page letter stating that AT&T needs to make changes in order to “maintain its competitiveness and technological advantage.” Their letters almost always imply that said “changes” are being done in compliance with the Lease, and that a simple signature of consent is required to allow them access to your property. Unfortunately, it isn’t always true that the changes are implicitly allowed or are “in compliance” with your Lease. Of course, AT&T doesn’t spell out that it might (or should) be required to pay fees for any changes. Rather, the carrier entices you to consent without question. We want you to know that you can, in fact, gain an advantage in these equipment modification requests, and we have had ample success in providing property owners with the guidance they need to do so.
|Subscribers||126,400,000 (as of year end 2015)|
|Rank by Subscriber||#2|
|New Sites: 2016||Up to 800|
In October 2013, AT&T sold 9,700 towers to Crown Castle under a leaseback agreement.
In 1999, Bell South (now part of AT&T) subleased 1,850 towers and agreed to allow Crown Castle build 500 more towers for it.
|Major Acquisitions||Part of Alltel, Centennial, Cingular, Cricket, Dobson|
Steel in the Air has been assisting landowners, venue owners, and communities with cellular/wireless telecom lease negotiations for over a decade. We have reviewed hundreds of AT&T leases and know the ins and outs of the industry better than anyone. We take great pride in providing unique, unbiased and reliable guidance.
Do you have questions? Visit our Q&A Forum.
Sign up to receive in-depth wireless analysis, news, trends, and reports.