Cellular Site Lease Rates On Towers VS Rooftops

by Frank
(New Jersey)

Do cell phone carriers pay more for cell towers on top of buildings or do they pay more for cell tower leases that are on towers or is there no difference? I am a property owner with a building in New Jersey and I'm wondering if we got a fair deal. We were offered $1,500 to rent space for a tower in a very busy area and I know that the same cellular company pays more to go on rooftops.

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Sep 23, 2010
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Cell towers versus rooftop cell sites
by: Tower Genius

Frank $1500 is OK depending where in NJ you are located but it's not just the point that you can get a better rate. Even NJ has rural areas. A more remote cell tower site will pay less than they will in Jersey City, New Brunswick or Paramus.

Rooftops vs towers really depends on location and carrier and their need. Both can be very lucrative if the deals are crafted properly and both can be royally screwed up if negotiated poorly.

You need to watch the terms of the lease very closely. I had a building owner call me yesterday who wanted us to help them out by contacting some of my contacts in NYC to see if they would be interested in renting rooftop space from them in the Bronx since they already had a cellular carrier renting space from them. Not only did they get at least $500-$1,000 below market value for their cell site when they signed the lease 5 years ago, they also agreed to horrible terms in the Assignment and Subletting paragraph of the lease. Now any additional carriers can put antennas on their rooftop and the owner will not see a single dime from it.

My point is WATCH the TERMS closely. That mistake can potentially cost the building owner 7 figures if another cellular carrier ever selects their site. Hire a professional - like us - if you've never negotiated a cell site lease before.

Let us know if you need assistance.

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