Property owners engage in cellular leases with tower companies and wireless carriers who act as tenants, gaining the rights to a particular ground area in exchange for paying rent. In the case of a cell tower or a rooftop cell site lease, a sublease is a lease between the tenant (cell tower or wireless carrier who leases ground space from the property owner) and a third-party (likely another wireless carrier).
Steel in the Air has assisted hundreds of landowners with sublease issues. Over the last four years, we’ve accumulated thousands of cell tower leases and developed a lease rates database of information that includes the location of the lease and whether there was cell tower compensation for subleasing. Furthermore, we’ve developed, owned, and built cell towers ourselves, so we understand the tower industry revenue model inside and out. Most of the time, we can provide you with an estimate of cell tower compensation including the proposed sublease by looking at pictures of the tower.
Revenue Sharing might sound good at first, but that’s only because you don’t realize that that the alternative to revenue sharing is keeping all the money, instead of giving a percentage of it away. Wireless carriers and tower companies sometimes try to insert this clause into wireless leases, and they market it by saying that they will, in fact, “market” your cell site to additional tenants, and give you a share of whatever rent the new tenants pay. Typically they offer to give you anywhere from 20% to 50%. We don’t recommend accepting this deal, because we believe that when and if a carrier is interested in collocating on your cell site, it will do so of its own free will, regardless of any so-called marketing efforts.