Black Dot

Lease optimization

Negotiating New Cell Tower Leases

Black Dot Wireless

Black Dot is known in the industry as a lease optimization company. It acts as a third-party, working on behalf of wireless carriers (the Lessee), to negotiate cellular leases with landownersbuilding owners and public entities (the Lessor). Historically, Black Dot has worked for Alltel, AT&TSprintT-Mobile, and US Cellular. Currently, we don’t see much from them other than occasional inquiries that they make on behalf of AT&T. These inquiries take the following format:

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    1. Requests to extend an AT&T cell tower lease that has less than 5 years remaining;
    2. Requests to amend an AT&T cell tower lease to add a “Right of First Refusal” clause and to make changes to the “permitted use” language;
    3. Requests to reduce the lease rate currently being paid to AT&T cell tower landowners.

    In some cases, Black Dot will offer a nominal increase in the lease rate in exchange for an extension of the lease duration. However, we caution all landowners who are approached by Black Dot on behalf of AT&T to be wary of any proposed changes. These proposals (even the ones that increase the lease rate) are almost always attempts to encourage the landowner to sign an undervalued lease extension or to agree to terms that could materially reduce the value of the site.

    Negotiating Leases With Black Dot Wireless

    Black Dot representatives receive commission based on the amount of rent that they reduce and are paid bonuses when Lessors accept amendments to their lease. In fact, Black Dot agents have built constraints into the online database they use to value leases, specifically to allot them themselves the highest fees possible for any given transaction.

    Black Dot Wireless agents are like skilled politicians — they provide scripts to your questions and when unable to answer off script, they either misdirect the question or fail to answer. Unless you understand Black Dot Wireless’s end game, you are at a severe disadvantage in the negotiations.

    “Black Dot Wireless help-wanted ads suggest that their salesmen can earn over $200,000 annually by convincing landowners to agree to reduce their cell site lease rates.”

    How Black Dot Benefits From Mergers And Acquisitions

    Black Dot takes advantage of wireless telecom industry dynamics, such as mergers and acquisitions, to persuade property owners to accept rent reductions. They do this by using scare tactics, like telling property owners that their lease is likely to be terminated unless they agree to rental reductions. While it’s correct that mergers and acquisitions will result in some cell tower redundancies and consolidation of cell sites, the percentage of sites affected is actually quite low. In the majority of the cases, property owners’ cellular leases are perfectly secure as is.

    We have helped over 125 clients specifically with Black Dot Wireless negotiations. If you need help charting the waters with Black Dot, please contact us. If you have received an offer from Black Dot, forward it to us. We will review it at no charge and either recommend that you do nothing (decline to make changes) or, provided that we believe we can help, we will quote you a cost for our services.

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