As the demand for consistent wireless user experiences continues to explode, carriers must densify their networks and become more educated on optimal deployment practices. The wireless industry has been abuzz with talk of small cell technology emerging as a major means of network improvement, and these short range mobile cell sites are increasingly being integrated into the broader network. To help deliver the quality, reliability, and capacity that users have come to expect, carriers are using small cells to strategically enhance localized capacity in high traffic areas and extend coverage to tough-to-reach locations.

Some carriers, such as Verizon and AT&T, have been more vocal than others about their focus on capital expenditures in small cell technology, but it is only natural that their rivals follow suit in an effort to stay competitive. 2016 should see all four nationwide carriers investing heavily. What does this mean for current and prospective cell site leaseholders?

If you are a landlord who currently holds a cell tower lease, it is unclear how these developments will directly affect your existing arrangement. Small cells are valuable additions to a balanced network strategy, especially in densely populated urban areas where cell towers are impractical, but they are not a panacea. This news, however, does not exempt your lease from risk. With carrier mergers and network consolidations frequently changing the landscape, cell site decommissioning is a possibility. If you are considering selling your lease to a buyout company to offset that risk and collect a lump sum, it is wise to seek the advice of experts to ensure that you get the best deal possible and protect yourself from unfavorable terms.

If you don’t have yet a cell site on your property, you may stand to benefit from the acceleration of small cell deployments. Carriers need to provide mobile data in areas that are not adequately served by cell towers, and real estate must be acquired to meet that goal. The growth trajectory is expected to be even faster than the tower industry was in its heyday and—because carriers do not always own the small cells they operate on— that could result in a knock on your door. Tower companies are also poised to help carriers build out their networks, in part because of their experience with site acquisition. Even though they are offering you recurring monthly income for use of your land, there is no question that your potential tenant wants you to sign an agreement that is ultimately written in their favor.

Regardless of what type of site you are approached about—small cell or cell tower—a landowner’s concerns are the same. Your objectives are to protect your property rights and to collect a rent that reflects the true value of your site. The Filo Group is here to help you every step of the way to see that you get what you deserve and make the transaction experience a pleasant one. Please contact us today for more information.