T-Mobile Today

What You Should Know About T-Mobile Cell Site Leases

There are three main reasons that property owners and local governments engage us regarding T-Mobile Cell Tower Leases:
If you have been contacted by a T-Mobile representative (aka, site acquisition agent) regarding the construction of a cell tower on your property or a cell site on your building or tower, you likely don’t know where to start. That’s where we can help. We can:
  1. Provide information regarding the real-world effects of entering into a Landlord/ Tenant lease with T-Mobile;
  2. Review your location for its uniqueness to T-Mobile;
  3. Determine appropriate rent, escalation, and lease duration terms; and
  4. Provide tips on favorably negotiating the terms of the proposed Lease Agreement prior to signing.

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    If you are already party to a T-Mobile wireless lease, you have likely received multiple “consent requests” from T-Mobile asking to make “minor” improvements to their equipment. These are known as “equipment modifications.“ In some cases, they may be seeking additional ground space for a generator. T-Mobile is actively deploying 600Mhz (low band frequency that travels farther) to their existing sites which often involves new equipment. T-Mobile’s agents suggest in the consent request and verbally that the changes are within the lease area, and they imply that you are obligated to agree to the changes. In many cases, the lease does not allow them to make the changes and you are entitled to ask for more rent for your approval. We advise anyone receiving such a request to first ask for construction drawings showing the changes. From there, here is how we can help.

    1. Review the proposed drawings and advise you on T-Mobile’s reasons for requesting any change;
    2. Review the lease language and confirm whether T-Mobile is allowed to make changes;
    3. Determine what fees (if any) should be charged to T-Mobile;
    4. Assist you with the negotiation of the Lease in a way that protects and supports your interests.
    T-Mobile Today

    In late 2012, T-Mobile announced it would sell 7,200 towers to Crown Castle. Those landowners who own the land upon which the 7,200 towers were built have since been receiving proposals from Crown Castle (as a successor to T-Mobile) to either extend or buy their lease. (Crown Castle now has the right to waive the consent to sell provision mentioned above). If you have received a proposal to extend the term of your lease or to purchase your lease, please contact us first.

    If you are already party to a T-Mobile wireless lease, then you likely have been contacted recently by a third-party Lease Optimization company seeking to renegotiate the terms of the T-Mobile lease. In short, these companies suggest that because of the pending T-Mobile and Sprint merger that your lease is at risk and your failure to agree to the revised terms will impact their review of the combined assets after they merge. These agents are very aggressive- calling frequently and issuing many fake drop-dead dates. If you have been contacted to renegotiate your lease, we can help you:

    1. Understand the risk of termination from the merger; 
    2. Determine whether any adjustment to your lease should be made T-Mobile;
    3. Evaluate the potential impact of the requested changes to your lease that they are requesting;
    4. See if there is an opportunity to improve your lease.
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    What You Should Know About T-mobile As A Tenant

    New Site Builds

    T-Mobile has been fairly active when it comes to new site development during 2019 to date, focusing on deploying many new rural sites for 600MHz. They have also been active in modifying their existing equipment on their sites. Over the last two years, we estimate that T-Mobile has constructed a total of 3,000 new cell sites while modifying 10,000 to 20,000 sites.

    Lease Buyouts

    While T-Mobile lease templates are basically the same as the other Big 4 Carriers: AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, there is one notable difference. When it comes to lease buyouts, T-Mobile is very aggressive in its attempts to prevent landowners or structure owners from selling their leases to third parties. For instance, while each of the other wireless carriers adds a Right of First Refusal (ROFR) clause to their lease templates, T-Mobile instead uses a consent provision. By inserting language that states that the landowner may not assign or transfer the Lease without T-Mobile’s consent, which may be withheld at T-Mobile’s sole discretion, it effectively removes the landowner’s ability to sell the Lease in the future. For most landowners, this is an unreasonable restriction (i.e. alienation) on the right to sell or convey the Lease. T-Mobile is unlikely to delete this provision, however, unless you have a unique property or structure upon which T-Mobile must collocate.


    1. T-Mobile is straightforward when it comes to lease negotiations.
    2. T-Mobile is a responsible Tenant once the Lease is said and done and the site has been constructed.


    1. T-Mobile restricts the right for landowners to sell the rights to their Lease to a third-party.
    2. T-Mobile tends to prefer sub-par locations if they can lease them for cheaper rent.

    T-mobile’s Lease Negotiation Tactics

    If you happen to be one of the 1,000 or so property owners lucky enough to be approached by T-Mobile this year, you should know that T-Mobile is relatively straightforward to deal with when it comes to negotiating a proposed lease. However, compared to other wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon, they tend to be cheaper when it comes to paying rent. They are more apt to consider alternative locations that are slightly inferior, if the landowner or structure owner asks for too much rent or unreasonable terms in the lease agreement. Once installed on the property or structure, T-Mobile tends to be a good and responsive tenant. However, like the other wireless service providers, they have recently conveyed most of their towers to one of the public tower companies.

    T-mobile’s Network Builds

    T-mobile’s Network Builds
    ~81.3 million subscribers
    Rank by Subscriber
    Wi-Fi Offload
    Yes- T-Mobile offers WIFI Offload for voice calls and data.
    Number of Cell Sites
    New Sites: 2019
    ~1,500 estimated
    Tower Sales
    In late 2012: T-Mobile subleased the rights of 7,200 towers to Crown Castle for $2.4 B.
    2013: MetroPCS; 2018: Announced merger with Sprint, possible approval summer 2019
    Lease Value
    High- just below AT&T and Verizon

    Steel In The Air Inspires Landowners, Venue Owners And Local Governments To Make The Best Out Of Each Unique Location

    Steel in the Air has been assisting landowners and communities with cellular/ wireless telecom lease negotiations for over a decade. We have reviewed hundreds of T-Mobile leases and know the ins and outs of the industry better than anyone. We take great pride in providing unique, unbiased and reliable guidance.

    Together, We Will Implement A Plan Based On Educated Goals. Your Objective Might Be To:

    1. Understand your rights and obligations as a cell site Lessor.
    2. Negotiate the lease (or lease renewal) before signing.
    3. Determine the real market value of your lease as derived from rent, escalation and duration figures, as well as situational metrics, such as location and wireless infrastructure build plans.
    4. Use the lease as an asset, or part of an investment portfolio.
    5. Determine what type of wireless network is best for your community, organization, or venue.
    6. Create a process and Master Plan for county or municipal wireless infrastructure leases.
    7. Better understand industry dynamics, site acquisition strategies and policies or rules that could affect your lease now or in the near future.

    Do you have Questions? Visit our Q&A Forum .

    Why You Should Reach Out To Us

    Perhaps our clients can explain it best. Over 300 of them have been generous enough to share feedback on their unique experiences and successes with Steel in the Air.

    We Care About Our Clients

    Steel in the Air is an independent company and as such, we are strong advocates for individual landowners, “mom and pop” businesses, and local governments. We take great pride in building lasting relationships and helping our clients achieve their individual and community goals.
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