Questions & Answers for Property Owners
1. What kind of company might be interested in leasing space on my property?
There are typically two primary types of businesses interested in leasing space on commercial buildings – cell phone companies and tower companies. Examples of U.S. cell phone companies include Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T/Sprint. There are several others such as Altice, FirstNet, and DISH that are relatively new entrants to the wireless market. Antennas are connected to equipment, called “base stations”, that is sometimes co-located with larger antennas. For our purposes we will focus on the cell phone companies, who are also referred to as “carriers”.
2. What types of structures are cellular carriers interested in as potential locations to install equipment?
In addition to requiring the placement of antennas on traditional locations, such as rooftops and the sides of buildings, in order to provide the expected service levels 5G networks are pursuing what is called “densification”, or the installation of greater number of network elements within a given space. Essentially this means wireless carriers will need a lot more equipment closer to users, which results in them having to lease significantly more locations from more property owners. Companies seek to install various sizes of antennas. This requirement requires some creativity on behalf of carriers who are now placing cellular equipment on all sorts of structures, such as telephone poles, billboards, signage, and at heights much closer to the ground. Therefore, many property owners who have never been approached before by a cellular carrier are now of potential interest.
3. Does this mean I will have a large (100 ft+) cell tower installed on my property?
No. Tetto 5G wants to help you monetize the value of your location with the minimal impact on your structure, both from a physical as well as aesthetic perspective. This could mean an antenna “hidden” inside or alongside existing signage, attached to the side of your building, or part of a “cluster” of antennas located on your rooftop. Note that multiple antennas could require related base station equipment on the roof.
4. If I have land that is not being used, is it possible to make it available for a larger cell tower?
In some instances, Tetto 5G might be approached by a carrier with interest in using your location for a larger, more, traditional cell tower…we can help with that if you are amenable. There are multiple factors that will need to be addressed, but the lease rates are typically higher to compensate property owners appropriately. Tetto 5G will of course work on your behalf during the entire process, from site evaluation, through construction, to managing on-going lease payments.
5. What is the typical duration of a lease?
Leases, which establish the landlord/tenant relationship, can range from 5 years to even up to 30 years. It depends on network plans for the individual carrier.
6. What determines what rate I will get for a lease?
Location is the most important factor. If a carrier’s network design requires an antenna or antennas at or near your property, the carrier is usually willing to pay more than if the location does not fit their build-out plan. It is important to remember that each carrier has different networks and therefore varying needs for antenna locations.
7. Would a lease restrict what I can do with my property?
Typically, yes. But part of the payments you receive is intended to compensate you for this inconvenience. Cell companies, who spend significant resources on site engineering, construction, equipment, and on-going operations need to ensure they receive an adequate return on their investment. One of the ways they do that is to limit the risk of having to move an antenna site. Property owners need to understand that it can be expensive, perhaps prohibitively, to terminate a lease.
8. Are lease rates capped? Are there other revenue opportunities?
Your lease will determine the specifics, but property owners can benefit from increasing revenues over time. Examples include yearly escalators, equipment upgrades, and installation of additional co-located equipment.
9. Are leasing arrangements exclusive to only one cellular company?
Although leases themselves are with individual cell phone companies, property owners are usually able to lease space to more than one carrier as long as there is (a) ample physical space to locate antennas and related equipment, (b) no interference between carriers, and (c) no contractual preclusion from doing so. However, carriers will often require “equitable treatment”, meaning, lease terms will have to be similar so one carrier will receive a better deal than others.
10. What specific information will Tetto 5G need about my structure?
Not very much to get started. Cell phone companies will not need a lot of information to determine if the property is of potential interest. Initial data will include: location address, height of structure, power accessibility, type of internet connection, and if the property owned or leased. Once there is initial interest the cell company will need to gain a more granular understanding of the structure for engineer purposes as well as local zoning rules.
11. Who pays for the engineering, construction, and permitting?
The cell phone companies (lessee).
12. Will installation cause structural issues?
Certainly, all parties will want to minimize any structural adjustments that might be needed to accommodate installation, such running power and a high-speed internet connection to the antennas/equipment. The lease itself will dictate what work needs to be done and the responsible party.
13. Will I need additional insurance? Do the cell phone companies have insurance for this?
Lease agreements typically require carriers to be insured.
14. What kind of access is needed for maintenance? Who is responsible for maintenance and repair?
The cell phone carrier will most likely require 24-7-365 access to their antenna and related equipment. This is more of a consideration for rooftop installation than for a simple antenna located on signage or pole. The carriers will do the work themselves (or a contracted third-party) and pay for the work. As always, the lease will dictate the specifics.
15. Can Tetto 5G guarantee me that a carrier will want to install an antenna at my location?
No. It is impossible in advance to know if a particular carrier will be interested in a location and what they will be willing to pay to lease access to that location. There are many unknown variables – only after a carrier expresses genuine interest can the specifics be determined. Generally, though, properties in prime locations where there is great demand for wireless connectivity tend to drive the higher lease rates. However, as previously mentioned, the need for significantly more antenna sites closer to end-users is expected in drive demand for more and more sites across carriers’ network. Tetto 5G believes that the key to attracting the attention of the carriers is to be in a position to offer them a dense portfolio of multiple sites from which to choose while planning their network build. Doing so saves them significant time from having to go out and find the locations themselves. From a property owner’s perspective being part of that desired portfolio of locations should significantly increase the probability of interest from carriers.
16. What if I prefer to be paid now instead of over the duration of the lease?
Tetto 5G has a monetization program that can provide property owners with an up-front payment if desired. This financing program can only be accessed when a carrier has committed to a long-term lease. Please let us know if you would like to learn more about this program.
17. Where can I read more about 5G?
Tetto 5G has put together a number of public documents for those property owners who wish to learn more about this exciting new wireless technology.
- [articles on the web]
- Journal Report “5G Technology”, WSJ, November 11, 2020.
- Technology Assessment: 5G Wireless, Capabilities and Challenged for an Evolving Network; S. Government Accountability Office; November 2020.