For anyone hoping that 2022 would slow down from 2021, that will not happen. We enjoyed a slight lull in activity in January, only to be slammed in February and March. What’s occupying us these days?
- AT&T C-Band Modifications. AT&T is adding C-Band equipment to their existing macrocells to provide mid-band (faster) 5G. Because they are adding antennas for C-Band, most of these modifications justify increasing rent for the landowner/tower owner. AT&T must have had many of these ready to go – because our clients were quickly inundated with requests. If you own a rooftop where AT&T (or Verizon) is proposing C-Band, ask them for the MPE study (maximum permitted exposure). Not because we believe there is a risk to you or the residents- but because C-Band has higher authorized power. As a result, you may find areas of the roof that you can no longer use without asking AT&T to power down their equipment. Also, AT&T or Verizon may want to add barriers on the roof to keep people out of those areas.
- DISH New Leases. DISH seems to be getting its act together in terms of site acquisition. Our clients have negotiated to finalize some DISH leases for 6-12 months. There must have been a push recently to get the leases signed, as we have seen some real progress on finalizing some of those leases. Interestingly, DISH appears to have prioritized which sites they will construct and when- as the forecasted construction date on some has been accelerated and others pushed out 1-3 years.
- Sprint Terminations. The terminations notices are finally coming. For those of you wondering when and if Sprint will terminate their lease with you due to the merger with T-Mobile, you should find out in the next few months. It won’t take long after that for Sprint to remove their equipment. If you receive a request from Sprint to “keep” the equipment in exchange for a one-time payment, generally, we recommend against keeping anything other than the concrete pad. The antennas and equipment have little value, and other providers won’t use them.
- New Macrocell Builds for AT&T and Verizon. While it seems to be a bit muted from last year, our landowners have received requests to lease their property from AT&T, Verizon, or smaller build-to-suit tower companies on their behalf. It seems obvious that some of these sites are being added due to the lesser effective distance of mid-band 5G spectrum. Some appear to be targeted towards fixed wireless- i.e., 5G broadband to the home. The result is that towers and macrocells are being built between sites, especially in suburban areas.
- Eye-Popping Offers for Lease Buyouts and Tower Sales. In the category of “we need to stop forecasting the market’s peak, ” we continue to be surprised by the multiples being paid for tower assets and leases. Every time I think that offers cannot go higher- we are proven incorrect. If you have received buyout offers lately, I suspect you have observed how crazy the market is getting. It seems like a bubble to me – but I have talked to some investors who think this is just the new normal. Whatever the case, if you are considering selling your lease or tower- definitely time to get multiple offers. The old adage “you don’t know what you don’t know” applies here- because even we don’t know how high offers will come back until we get them.
If you wonder how all of the above applies to you or what to do about your existing leases, please contact us. (As a reminder, we cannot help you find new leases for your land or building, so please don’t email us how great your property is).