Cell Tower Rents

by Jane - not my real name for Privacy reasons
(Portland, Oregon)

What is fair pricing for cell tower rental rates in Portland Oregon? I am wondering what are typical lease rates paid by Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile? I've been searching for "comps" and data what they pay but can't find any. We have a cell tower lease that is up for renewal with one of the 3 above mentioned companies. I don't want to give out more info about the site other than we are about to start negotiating with the cell phone company and were hoping to find out what it's worth.


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Feb 10, 2012
Determining cell tower rental rates in Portland
by: Tower Genius

Jane thanks for the posted question about proper pricing. Determining what you should charge the carrier in rent is a funny thing. You want to be fair and keep them as tenants long term, so taking that into consideration, it's like a marriage. It has to work for both parties or someone will start looking elsewhere. I also use the analogy, it's like an Airplane, unless the 2 wings are balanced, it can't fly.

Unfortunately from our industry experience it is evident that carriers are extremely heavy handed when it comes to negotiating rent on their cell sites. They pay a heck of a lot of money to hire highly effective professionals to get them the best terms and rates possible, so from the start, most landlords are at a significant disadvantage in the negotiation.

There is no exact answer to tell you without seeing your site. Where is it located? Topography? Zoning? What does it cover? Where are the surrounding cell sites in their network? How much time is left on the lease? Are they trying to extend the lease to be able to add a subleasing tenant (more carriers)?

I usually take the approach of determining how badly they need a site, what would it cost them to decommission and move the site, and would they ned to replace it with 1 or multiple sites if you can't come to terms as factors that help me to come up with a price.

I've also found that many carrier attorney or carrier real estate negotiators will try to trick landlords into into giving a price based on the number of antennas or square footage of the leased area. When they are desperate they may even give you "comps" of where they pay "$1,000" a month to get you to concede. We always determine price by means of supply and demand.

So, your lease may be worth $750, $1500, $2000 or even over $3000 per month -- even in Portland Oregon. They may want you to think otherwise, but cell phone plans cost the same regardless of whether you are in Portland Oregon, San Francisco, or Long Island, NY. It just depends on the factors we discussed. Hope that helps.

Tower Genius

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