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Over the last 30 years, T-Mobile has built a network of about 79,000 cell sites and towers across the US. In addition, T-Mobile has built or acquired approximately 43,000 small cells. In some cases, T-Mobile approaches the landowner directly to lease property. In others, T-Mobile partners with a third-party tower company to build a tower for them. These tower companies are also known as “build-to-suit.”
In 2023, we expect some activity from T-Mobile, but not as much as other years. T-Mobile is ahead of AT&T, and about neck-in-neck with Verizon regarding the deployment of faster 5G midband spectrum. As a result, they are spending their capital on adding 5G equipment to their existing network of cell sites – as well as determining whether an existing Sprint site and the lease will be converted to a T-Mobile cell tower lease, or terminated entirely. However, starting in 2024, we expect to see more new tower construction and leasing from T-Mobile and its partners.
We also expect to see continued efforts by T-Mobile to lower its average lease rate. T-Mobile has been very aggressive in trying to lower their rent on average, both with new leases and existing leases. Furthermore, they also are pushing for lower escalation.
Please note that we are not affiliated with T-Mobile, and we cannot help you procure a T-Mobile cell tower lease. We help landowners who have been approached by T-Mobile for a cell tower lease and those who already have a T-Mobile lease. If you found this page accidentally while trying to contact T-Mobile or wish to submit a property for their consideration, you can access their landlord portal here.
How Does T-Mobile Decide How Much to Pay to Put a Cell Tower on My Property?
T-Mobile or its third-party tower company partners employ site acquisition agents (also known as SAC or SAQ) to find and lease property for the placement of a cell tower. T-Mobile issues search rings to the agents so they can research and find suitable properties in the ring. A search ring is generally 1/3 to 2/3 of a mile in diameter. Once they find properties in that meet T-Mobile’s needs, agents submit them for consideration. Remember that no amount of marketing will encourage T-Mobile to use your property if it isn’t within a search ring. This is why we discourage the use of “marketing companies,” who advertise that they will market your property.
The site acquisition agent will next identify the properties that meet local zoning regulations, and where the landowner may be interested in a proposed lease. They contact the landowners who own the best properties and make their inquiries. If the landowner is interested, T-Mobile will submit a proposal to lease the property. The proposed lease rate is based on several factors:
- Is the location in an urban, suburban, or rural area (urban pays more than suburban which pays more than rural)
- Average property values in the area
- Average lease rates for other T-Mobile cell tower leases in the area
- The uniqueness of the property
- The availability of alternatives in the search ring
- Whether the local zoning restrictions allow for a tower or not on the subject property and adjacent properties
With these factors in mind, T-Mobile’s agent will negotiate with the qualified candidates to determine which site offers the highest probability of zoning and permitting approval, but also requires the lowest total cost. Notice that we use the phrase “lowest total cost,” instead of simply the lowest lease rate. T-Mobile will look at both the cost to construct the tower on the property and the ongoing rental obligation when considering which location is optimal.
Average T-Mobile Cell Tower Lease Rates
If we look at all T-Mobile cell tower ground leases in our database, T-Mobile’s average rent is $1,487/mo. which equates to about $17,845/year.
However, before you ask T-Mobile for this amount, we strongly urge you to consider the following:
- This sample includes a thousand T-Mobile leases across the country. The lease rates vary widely.
- This average includes leases that have escalated over 25 years. Some leases date back to the late 1980s and have tripled, due to annual escalation since their commencement.
- We also include data from municipalities and unique institutions, such as airports or convention centers where the landowner has much stronger negotiating power than you do – largely due to the volume of traffic they attract, both inside and outside the venue.
By comparison, if we limit our query to only proposed leases from T-Mobile, the average drops to $1,150/mo. or $13,800/year across the entire US.
In other words, you should not assume that T-Mobile is underpaying you just because the lease rate they are offering is less than $1,150/mo. Likewise, don’t think that you have a great deal because T-Mobile’s lease proposal or existing lease is above the average rate of $1,150/mo.
EVERY SITE IS DIFFERENT AND THE AVERAGE T-MOBILE CELL TOWER LEASE RATE IS JUST THAT- the AVERAGE. Just as you probably wouldn’t list your home at the average home value across the entire US, you shouldn’t negotiate your lease based upon averages.
How Can I Find Out How Much T-Mobile Pays for Cell Phone Tower Leases in my Area?
Wireless carriers (including T-Mobile) do their best to prevent landowners from finding out what they pay – going so far as to add confidentiality provisions in their new leases. There is no Multiple Listing Service (MLS) of cell tower lease rates. We are not aware of a publicly available database that shows how much property owners receive in cell tower lease rent. T-Mobile records a “memorandum of lease,” but they omit the rental amount they are paying. You may be able to find one or two property owners who have T-Mobile towers in the area. However, how do you know if they negotiated the best possible deal?
Alternatively, you could contact us. We are experts in T-Mobile cell tower ground lease rates and tower leases. We have a database of 15,000 leases with lease rate data that we have painstakingly assembled over the last 20+ years. We can tell you not only what T-Mobile typically pays for their cell sites in your area, but what other wireless companies pay in rent for their cell tower leases.
More importantly, we can tell you how your particular property compares to the other properties in the area and why T-Mobile is likely to pay more (or less) than average given their other options.
If you have an existing T-Mobile lease or have received a proposal from T-Mobile to lease your land, please contact us. Here is our commitment to you:
- The initial call is free.
- Information you share in this discussion will be treated as confidential.
- If we don’t think we can help you improve your situation, we will tell you.
- You are under no obligation to use our services until you sign a service contract with us.
- We offer flexible payment options to suit your individual need