It’s been almost a year since Sprint and T-Mobile rocked the cellular world with their application for approval for a merger to the FCC. This application, with the disclosure of “cost-savings” plans to decommission tens of thousands of websites, sent a shock wave through cell tower owners, consumers and across the country.
Your cell tower leases are an important financial asset, just like a savings account, retirement account or rental property you may own. Each of these financial assets has a specific value, risk and return associated with it. And all things being equal, most of us want to maximize the growth and value of our financial assets.
For the past 30 years, the cellular industry has been crisscrossing the US installing more than 350,000 cell sites in cities, towns and crossroads. Municipalities fortunate enough to have cellular sites located on their properties have been able to count on a steady stream of income from their cell site leases.
Cell sites, including towers, water tanks, rooftops, have been selling at record highs for the past year or so. But does that mean prices have topped out and are beginning to soften? Or does it mean there are even greater values ahead of us.
Are the chances increasing for a major increase in cell tower decommissions in the near future? That is almost guaranteed if the application for T-Mobile/Sprint merger, filed with the FCC on June 18, is approved.
While it may be debatable whether the proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile will be good for consumers, lease cancellations and cell site decommissions could be significant for cell tower owners and cellular property owners.