Lease Rates

Negotiating DISH Wireless Leases

Have you been approached by DISH Wireless to lease your rooftop or tower or lease your land for their tower?

If so, please read on for expert advice on landowners’ typical questions regarding DISH leases.

If you’re instead looking to contact DISH about wireless services or leasing your property, please see their website here.

Why is DISH interested in my property or tower?

Under their agreement with the FCC and the Department of Justice, DISH had to provide coverage to 75% of the US population by June 2023, which they did. DISH also has to build 15,000 5G cell sites and provide coverage to 70% of the land area in the US by June 2025. To do this, DISH has focused on signing master lease agreements with tower companies to collocate on their towers. However, there aren’t large tower company towers everywhere, so DISH must also find rooftops and smaller tower company sites to fill in the gaps. Currently, DISH is active in 40+ markets across the US.

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    Is DISH building new towers of its own?

    Very few. Due to DISH’s need to be on air quickly, they have focused on collocation on existing structures. So far, we have been contacted by one landowner who was approached by DISH to build a new tower on their property. 

    Is DISH paying decent lease rates?

    Typically, DISH negotiations start very low. As DISH builds a new nationwide network from scratch, they have prioritized keeping costs low. This will allow them to charge less for their 5G service than other wireless providers. DISH also successfully forced the large tower companies to compete for their sites, which reduced the lease rates they pay on public company towers. DISH tries to pay significantly less than other wireless providers pay on the same towers.

    However, we have been very successful at helping our clients get market rates for their DISH agreements. The key is whether there are other cheaper alternatives available for DISH. 

    Have Questions on a Proposed or Existing DISH Wireless Lease?

      Is DISH using similar amounts of space at cell towers and rooftop sites?

      No. DISH tend to use a smaller footprint for their transmission equipment. For example, see the below clip from a set of DISH construction drawings for one of our clients with a rooftop with multiple cell site leases. DISH’s equipment area is 5’x7′, half the size of the other wireless providers on the roof.

      However, DISH is initially using similar antenna platforms as other wireless providers with fewer antennas. We anticipate that DISH will add antennas and other equipment as its network usage grows.   

      What should I watch out for in the DISH cell site lease agreement?

      DISH’s template lease is drafted in their favor. Savvy building or tower owners negotiate more favorable clauses into the lease.   Some of the top items we feel should be addressed in their lease are:

      1. DISH’s lease doesn’t have a definitive start date. It normally starts with the commencement of construction. So theoretically, DISH could sign a lease with you but not start paying you for years.
      2. DISH prevents the assignment of the lease by the landowner unless the entire parcel is sold. This prevents a landowner from selling their DISH lease in the future.
      3. DISH’s default lease language provides that DISH can add or replace equipment as they see fit.
      4. Some DISH leases expect the landowner to provide power for the DISH equipment.
      5. Some DISH leases allow DISH to sublease or share their equipment with other wireless providers.

      Will DISH assume my Sprint lease?

      You may have heard that T-Mobile must offer up to 20,000 Sprint cell sites to DISH that it plans to decommission. As a result, you may be hopeful that DISH will assume your Sprint lease.   Unfortunately, the likely scenario is that DISH will not take over the lease. So far, we have seen only a handful of Sprint leases assumed by DISH. They often approach the landowner directly to enter a new lease if they need a site at that location or area.  (If you haven’t been contacted, chances are that you won’t be.)

      Can you help me market my property to DISH for a lease?

      Unfortunately, we cannot. Please see this page for more details.

      How can SITA help with a DISH Lease?

      We are experts at helping landowners negotiate the best lease they can get with wireless providers like DISH. Over the last 19 years, we have helped 4,000 other landowners like you with lease issues.   We have unparalleled cell site location and cell tower lease rate data everywhere in the US. We know how to review your location and discover the other options DISH may have. If there aren’t any, we tell you how hard you can push them. If there are other options, we ensure you don’t negotiate too hard such that DISH goes to another site. We share helpful hints and best practices regarding DISH cell tower lease agreements. Furthermore, we will stick around until you finalize your lease. 

      Are you ready to determine how much your DISH proposed lease is worth? 

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