Tower companies (Crown Castle, American Tower, SBA) are the largest three tower companies in the country. In the early days of the industry, wireless carriers built and own about 100% of cell towers. In the recent decade, these wireless carriers have sold off their tower portfolios to raise cash to expand their networks. Buyers of these towers are American Tower Corporation (ATC), Crown Castle, and SBA towers.
Today, it is about 24 years after the inception of the digital wireless industry. The analog mobile technology is about 30 years old today (think brick Motorola phones, and car phones with their own carrying cases in 1980’s). Those leases that were commenced in the early formative years are beginning to expire. Tower companies are extending these leases as the original cell tower property owners are now in their 60’s and less technologically inclined to understand the value of their wireless real estate.
A common approach wireless carriers or tower companies take in lease extensions is to offer low rent, artificially sweetened with signing bonuses starting at $5,000. This is an extremely effective approach because many landlords focus on the bonus and forget the three very important aspects of the lease: rent rate, non-financial terms, and duration. Rent rates have about 30 factors that influence their calculations. If you have time, you can read them all here. Non-financial terms affect landowners’ ability to sell their properties in the future. Many landowners unknowingly agree to restrict their right to sell their properties in the future because they do not understand the implications of certain innocent terms like “right of first refusal.” Even high-priced ($500/hour) lawyers do not understand nuances of the industry fall into these traps of accepting certain harmful terms for their clients. That is why smart landlords consult with us involving these technical contracts because they know they do not understand the wireless technology and industry like we do.
Many of the wireless leases our clients present to us bear our CEO’s signature. Tung Bui signed thousands of leases while employed as its real estate and engineering executive with T-Mobile. Since then, these towers have been sold to American Tower (ATC), Crown Castle, and SBA towers. Today, those contracts bear Tung Bui’s name representing the carrier and tower companies. No one in the industry can claim that degree of intimacy with the wireless leases as our CEO can. Every lease term has its implications and meanings and Tung understands them completely. That is why his signature is on many of these landlord leases. Now, the table has turned — CellWaves serves to work only on behalf of cell tower landlords to maximize the value of their wireless leases. To have Tung and his team of professionals negotiate your lease extensions is unmatched in the industry.
Another unique aspect regarding CellWaves’ expertise is that its president is Larry Heuchert, formerly responsible for negotiating wireless leases for a number of wireless carriers including T-Mobile/VoiceStream/Western Wireless leases on behalf of the wireless carriers, directly with property owners. Larry was responsible for identifying real estate locations, knocking on landlords’ doors, and negotiating every aspects of the cell tower leases, including notarizing many of the wireless leases himself. Today, many of our clients enjoy the irony of having Larry and Tung work on their behalf to get the maximum value from their wireless properties. The combination of CellWaves’ combined experience is unmatched in the industry. If landlords do not use CellWaves to negotiate their wireless lease extensions, they are not getting the very best they can possibly get. No other teams in the industry can claim and prove such experience as CellWaves’ leadership can in helping landlords get maximum financial values for their leases.
When landlords decide to negotiate a wireless transaction on their own, or hire consultants who do not have the expertise CellWaves has, a common mistake they all make is to base future rent on current rental income. That is, if a landowner is getting $1,200 in rent today, they are convinced that the future correct rent must be around that price. However, much has changed in the past 20 years. The wireless industry has become extremely profitable (think billions of dollars in profit every month). Just about every person in the country who can use a cell phone carries a cell phone. And cell service is not limited to the 300,000,000 people living in the U.S. Many people have two phones – one for work, one for personal. Some others have more because of devices like tablets and computers. And the industry is poised to make even much more profit because each person is expected to have several points of connectivity such as cars, children, pets, mobile properties (i.e. bicycles, watches). So, how is a property owner who is not versed in this complex technology and industry going to negotiate against the professional lease negotiators working for multi-billion dollar companies like American Tower, Crown Castle, and SBA? They can’t. How are “consultants” who do not have the insider industry experience able to understand and negotiate your lease extensions? They can’t. We know that because we often get landlords asking us to help them get out of lease extensions that they just signed. We can’t. Those are iron-clad agreements because over the years, the tower companies have become very good at making them unchallengeable. The landlord’s only opportunity to affect the value of the lease is early in the negotiations, seldom after.
In just about very cell tower lease extensions we are involved with, our services cost our wireless landlord clients nothing. That is correct, nothing. This is because the value we bring, and the knowledge we have, allow us to deliver more rental income and financial gains for our clients that by the time we are all done with the new leases, our clients do not spend a dime to have us work for them. Our website is filled with these testimonials.
If you have a cell tower owned by Crown Castle, American Tower, or SBA Towers on your property and the lease is coming up for renewal, or that you have been approached by the tower companies to extend your lease, do not do this alone. This is probably the last opportunity 99% of landlords will have in their life time to negotiate this lease again. Doing it wrong now and they will never have an opportunity to correct their mistakes.
Call us anytime. There is never an obligation just for talking with us. Get some free advice from us. If you still think you can do it alone, then at least you have some pointers from us. If after talking with us you believe we can assist you, then we would be happy to work with you, starting by putting everything in writing so that it is absolutely clear what we will deliver for you. And we never ask for upfront money. We only receive a fee if we are successful in getting you MORE money. It is our core company value and always presented in writing. That’s because we are confident in our abilities, experience and skills, and we are in it for the long haul.
If you want professional services, timely responses, technical expertise, industry insiders, proven track record, and totally transparent transactions, then we invite you to contact us anytime.