By Steve Kazella
T-Mobile Lease UPDATE: Fort Walton Beach, Florida - December 14, 2020. T-Mobile cell site landlords are encouraged by Tower Genius, the USA's premier wireless lease consultancy, to have their T-Mobile cell site lease agreements reviewed for compliance prior to any T-Mobile 5G upgrades.
Between 2011 and 2015, approximately 10,000 T-Mobile cell sites were upgraded to the 4G network. Since then as you've probably seen in TV advertisements, T-Mobile is promoting it's "5G Network". If your site hasn't been upgraded already to 5G, T-Mobile landlords can expect the next T-Mobile 5G LTE overlay to be rolled out and integrated into their networks. Even though many of T-Mobile's cell towers are now owned or controlled by Crown Castle, there are thousands of T-Mobile rooftop cell sites that are directly under T-Mobile management. Landlords are urged to have Tower Genius take a look at their lease agreements to see if T-Mobile has the authority to upgrade and expand there cell site without the landlords consent, or not, based on the letter of the lease agreement? Remember the T-Mobile lease agreement is Gospel. The carrier has to live and die by it. In places like New York City we know that based on market intelligence we have obtained that a large number of T-Mobile cell sites from this particular carrier were not initially built in compliance with their lease agreements. Even a slight lease default is a default that can be a windfall for landlords.
We know T-Mobile like the back of our hand, having done a plethora of work for them and their predecessors in a previous life. T-Mobile is notorious for waiting literally until the last second to renew or extend their rooftop leases, which often puts the carrier into a horrible negotiating position, but puts landlords into a leveraged position.
There are a lot of 15 and 20-year OmniPoint and VoiceStream leases coming up for renewal in the next few years, and we want landlords to know that we want to help you to maximize your T-Mobile amendment and lease extensions when they come up for renewal.
Will you be ready? Many T-Mobile cell site landlords are going to be getting Notice of Modification of Wireless Facilities letters or phone calls notifying them of upgrades. Often the term sheets they want your to sign contain a disclaimer that "no defaults exist on the site". Well, when a T-Mobile landlord recently asked us, "how do they know that there isn't a default on the site" we actually helped them identify a default that added an additional $135,000 to their rental stream for the remainder of their lease. But don't expect T-Mobile to point any of this kind of information out to you.
Expect the T-Mobile 5G upgrade to be presented to you through a third party site acquisition company, architectural engineering or wireless consulting firm as something that is a matter of right for the carrier and that you need to quickly approve or sign off in order for T-Mobile to expedite and start their building permit application process. They have very crafty consultants working for them who are compensated to get this done for them at no cost or minimal costs. Even with this knowledge, they will push back in an attempt to wear you down and get you to agree. That is why you need someone who is knowledgeable, independent and savvy enough to consult for you and guide you who “speaks telecom” and who is a wireless industry expert like Tower Genius .
Even if you are a sophisticated wireless landlord or real estate mover and shaker, it is imperative you hire an experienced cell site consultant to review and help guide your negotiations of these T-Mobile cell site expansion amendments for you. We have seen increases in lease values from 10% to 50% over what landlords are currently being paid on their cell site leases.
Also in some cases the carrier will threaten to leave the site and look for another location if you push back on their demands or negotiate outside of what the market is willing to pay. It is important to know what the chances are of a carrier terminating a lease and to be able to determine what fair market value is on a site specific basis in order to increase your chances of negotiating a successful outcome.
Who is Tower Genius? If you are a property or landlord who has a roof cell site or tower lease with T-Mobile, we are your new best friend. Contact an Tower Genius T-Mobile lease expert or call us immediately at 1-888-313-9750 from anywhere in the United States, Monday – Friday 9AM Eastern to 6PM Central Time.
Tower Genius is an independent and carrier neutral cell site lease coaching and consulting firm which provides technical guidance for landlords and which is not an affiliate or contractor for T-Mobile and does not provide services to T-Mobile nor is affiliated with the carrier in any way whatsoever.