The extra income seems great…I want a cell tower on my property! How do I make this happen?
This question is not easily answered by property owners. In fact, with few exceptions, site location is
driven entirely by the needs of the communications carriers and their forecasted customer needs in the
towns and cities where the towers may be located.
For background on the cell tower industry, a well-recognized annual forecast, the Cisco Visual
Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017, projects that 75 percent of
the mobile data network traffic growth will be delivered over traditional macro sites, primarily cell
towers. Speaking to this forecasted grown, American Tower’s CEO, James Taiclet, was quoted as saying:
“[o]ver time, new cell sites will be needed to increase the capacity and density of each carrier’s 4G
With forecasted growth with mobile communications, I believe there will certainly be:
1) expansion with new cell tower construction; and
2) modification of existing site leases (which will certainly include opportunities for you to
renegotiate existing lease terms!).
The cell site selection process is almost always lead by specialized real estate brokers (called site
acquisition consultants) that assist the tower companies and communications companies with
identifying interested property owners. Those folks are charged with finding potential cell tower sites in
areas identified by the communications companies.
If you want a tower on your property for the income stream, here are some steps you should consider
taking for your property:
a) registering with the national tower companies’ interested property owner databases;
b) actively marketing your property directly to the tower companies and site acquisition
For actively marketing your property, I have seen this approach work by a few property owners.
However, this approach can also disadvantage you when it comes time to negotiate lease terms. Simply
put: you will have to be more flexible on terms you will agree to if the ultimate goal is to wind up with
an income producing cell tower on your property (or antennas on your commercial property’s roof).
In conclusion: there need for expand wireless communication will continue for the foreseeable future.
The steps you can take now are rather limited. Once you do attract the attention of the site acquisition consultants, cell tower companies and carriers,
you need a seasoned advisor on your team helping you every step of the way.