Cell Site Lease Offers from the Carriers: Average Lease Rate Examined

Which carrier pays the most for their leases on a general basis? To answer this question, Steel in the Air turned to our cell site lease database with more than 8,000 records of cell site lease information.  We found every instance in the database where a carrier was a party to the lease and where lease rate data existed.  We took the average lease rate for each of the larger carriers across all leases. Here’s what we found they pay relative to one another:

This includes ground leases, collocation leases, rooftop leases, etc.
For Verizon, we used Verizon, Bell Atlantic, Airtouch, and Alltel.
For AT&T, we used AT&T, Cingular, New Cingular, and Bell South.
For T-Mobile, we used T-Mobile, Voicestream, and Omnipoint.
For Sprint, we used Sprint, Alamosa, Nextel, Nextel Partners, and Ubiquitel.
For MetroPCS, we used MetroPCS and Pocket.
For Clearwire, we used Clearwire.
For US Cellular, we used US Cellular.

We used the lowest lease payment average from a carrier as a baseline and determined how much more percentage wise the other carriers pay. The results are interesting but likely statistically irrelevant:

  • US Cellular tends to pay a good deal less on average than the other carriers.
  • Sprint tends to pay more for their average lease than the other carriers do.
  • The most surprising observation is how thrifty Verizon has been compared to the other carriers on an average basis.  We are a bit baffled as to why this is.

Ideally, if a landowner or tower owner was looking to find the highest paying tenants, they would seek out AT&T, Sprint, and MetroPCS (now T-Mobile) while avoiding US Cellular.  In reality though, these carriers seek out the landowner or the tower owner and you should just consider yourself lucky that they did.

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    1 thought on “Cell Site Lease Offers from the Carriers: Average Lease Rate Examined”

    1. Hey Ken,
      Perhaps Verizon numbers skew lower because their sites tend to be older, and started lower to begin with?

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