Tower Collocation Leases- Modifications for LTE Towers
AT&T recently stated in a leaked FCC filing that between 2011-2013 they will be adding LTE services to over 44,000 sites. If the AT&T/T-Mobile merger is approved, AT&T will also upgrade another 18,000 sites to LTE towers. Through 2010, Verizon had upgraded over 12,000 sites with LTE with plans to do another 10,000 sites in 2011. By 2013, Verizon should have the majority of their sites converted or upgraded to LTE. Sprint will be announcing plans for LTE in the end of 2011. Other smaller carriers like MetroPCS and US Cellular are in the process of adding LTE equipment to towers they are on as well. For more on what LTE is, please see this Wikipedia article on LTE. Please note that Steel in the Air, Inc. is not affiliated with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, US Cellular, or Verizon.
For AT&T and Verizon, the LTE tower upgrade consists of an "overlay". Typically, this overlay increases the number of antennas on the tower by 3. AT&T and Verizon are each also going to larger antennas in some cases, depending upon what antennas were previously on site. Both AT&T and Verizon are sending requests to tower owners to “modify” their equipment on the towers. In some cases, they are not offering any compensation for the expansion of their tower collocation lease agreement. AT&T and Verizon are also typically adding an LTE cabinet within the ground lease area.
Steel in the Air, Inc. is regularly retained by smaller tower owners to assist them in determining the value of these LTE modifications. In most cases, the tower owner is entitled to additional compensation for the LTE modification. The answer is in the tower collocation lease agreement between the tower owner and the wireless carrier. Some lease agreements permit additional antennas without compensation, although most do not. The carrier might not always tell you whether your lease requires additional compensation or not. We can review your collocation lease or site lease agreement and determine whether you should be asking for compensation, and if so, for how much.
We can also review the proposed amendment from the carrier and advise you on the additional clauses that the carriers try to insert in every amendment. For instance, you don't have to extend your lease in order to get compensation for the LTE modifications. The extension should be addressed separately and you should evaluate whether your current lease is appropriately valued independently of the LTE modification request. We can review the drawings and the structural assessment provided by the carrier to confirm whether the proposed modification is in your best interest.
Our services are remarkably reasonable compared to your passing on tens of thousands of dollars - or even hundreds of thousands of dollars - in future revenue because you aren't familiar with how the industry prices LTE modification requests to tower collocation leases. Please contact us for a free quote for our services.