Airwave Update… Wireless Boom of 2014

March 31, 2014

Well, even though the US economy is BOOMING in the recovery… who are we kidding. Let me start over. Even though our economy is in the toilette that hasn’t stopped most Americans from cutting back on their wireless addictions. Just look at the smart phone you have now, compared to the cell phones we had 10 or even 5 years ago. Folks, this ain’t just a fad. The Smart Phone is one of the biggest inventions and innovations of our lifetime. Just about every middle school kid and high school student has one. Heck, mom and dad pay for them. These phone are bandwidth pigs and there is an exponential demand for data, oh yeah, and voice (some people actually still use their phone to make calls).

Carriers have finally realized that if they don’t start building new cell sites and cell towers, they are in a heap of trouble.

If you have been contacted about putting a cell tower on your property or a cell site on your rooftop, or if you have an existing wireless lease that you have questions about, you need professional guidance. We can help.

You can call us toll free Monday thru Friday 9AM to 7PM EST at 888-313-9750. You can also visit our two websites:


Both websites contain a ton of useful information. Since 2008 we have answered nearly 700 reader blog questions on various pages on both sites (we have 7 or 8 smaller site blogs within both websites) which are easy to find.


Airwave Management





Cell Tower Lease Rates

August 7, 2010

What are the cell tower lease rates where your potential cellular site is located? Evaluating cell site lease rates is difficult because there isn’t much comparative data available to the public. What we can tell you about cellular lease rates is that the cellular carriers are all trying to save money, and they are not paying as much as they used to pay for rooftop and tower rentals a few years back.
Landlords and property owners are usually contacted by the carriers via third party site acquisition leasing companies who are paid for identifying sites and getting a lease signed at a new cell tower site. They are paid on the rental price and the terms that they can negotiate. The better the terms for the carrier, the more potential the leasing consultant has for making a larger bonus. Translated, the worse the deal is that they shove down your throat, the more money they make. If they tell you they are not paid on a schedule that rewards them for giving you a lower lease rate they are lying. The carrier leasing companies are also paid premiums for turning a lease around quickly.
So if you’ve been contacted to put a cell tower on your property or antennas on your rooftop the clock is ticking against you. You need to evaluate the offer and figure out if the offer they gave you is a fair one, mediocre one, or a low ball stinkin’ bad offer. You also need to determine if the wireless carrier has any other choices where they can go in your neighborhood which would be a better location. That will determine the amount of leverage you have in the negotiation. You need to respond to them and you are almost always at a significant disadvantage. And they know that.
Of course, you can negotiate what seems to be a good deal on its face, and still end up with a dog of a deal if the you don’t pay close attention to the telecom leasing terms and the confusing language. Chances are you are not a telecommunications legalese expert, and neither is your real estate attorney. Cell tower leasing rates vary from county to county within a state. In 2009 we negotiated several cell site leases with the same carrier in the New York City Metropolitan Area, and the leases negotiated varied from $1,500 per month to $3,000 per month. The difference in price had a lot to do with wireless ordinances and poor coverage in a critical area.
Here are samples of some recent cell tower lease rates we have seen offered initially to landlords in various parts of the country for tower leases and rooftop leases:
• New Jersey, T-Mobile $1,500

• New Jersey, Clearwire $1,100

• New Jersey, T-Mobile $1,250

• New Jersey, Verizon Wireless, $1,650

• New York, Metro PCS $1,300

• Pennsylvania, AT&T $750

• Pennsylvania, Verizon Wireless $600

• Virginia, AT&T $500

• Los Angeles, T-Mobile $1,300

• Houston, TX Clearwire $900

• San Diego, California $1,400 T-Mobile
The cell tower leases offered to property owners are heavily tilted in favor of the carriers and are too burdensome for some. However in life and in the wireless leasing game there are two kinds of landlords, the quick and the dead. Don’t get killed by the carriers on your cell tower leases. They have hired guns to get them the best deal possible. Shouldn’t you?
Steve Kazella has ten years of wireless site acquisition, cell site lease negotiation and wireless project management experience. He is a Partner at Airwave Management LLC, a New Jersey-based cell site lease consulting and rooftop cellular communications site management firm. Steve’s firm also specializes in assisting wireless landlords in the review and negotiation of cell tower lease buyout offers in the United States. Find Airwave Management on the web at or you can reach Steve at 1-888-313-9750.

Negotiating Cell Tower Leases

June 19, 2010

Negotiating cell site leases is difficult when both you and your attorney don’t speak telecom legalese. Although your attorney may have helped you to close real estate deals, handled litigation or other complex transactions in the past, and may even be a good friend, chances are that in 99% of all cell tower deals, they don’t know very much about cell tower leasing,
or how to deal with the carriers.
Picture the following cell site leasing scenario. Imagine that the cellular carriers and their attorneys are a pack of hungry lions. Landlords and your attorney are a young animal separated from the herd. Without proper protection, you don’t stand a chance. Wireless carriers and their attorneys will impose their terms on you especially if you or your attorney don’t speak telecom legalese. By the time you realize what’s going on, it’s too late; you’ve either agreed to terms in your cell tower lease that you are unhappy with, your attorney has negotiated you out of the deal, or they have moved onto another site.
Either way, you’re dead.
Here is the inside scoop about cellular site lease rates that cellular phone carriers don’t want landlords to know about. Wireless carriers pay their real estate site acquisition leasing contractors high commissions for executing cell tower leases at certain price points. The better the terms agreed to in favor of the carrier, the higher the bonus is that’s paid to the
leasing agent. Now, there is nothing wrong with this as we live in a free market society, but if you own a property and a carrier wants to lease space from you for a tower or for rooftop cell site, you want to make sure that you are maximizing your revenues.
Think about this, at a lease rate of $2K monthly or $24K yearly rental, if you agree to 2% yearly rental increases instead of a 3% yearly increases, you will receive $132,000 LESS over the 25 year term of the cell phone tower lease. Now let’s say you have a 4 or 5 carrier monopole cell tower and all of your leases are at 2% instead of 3%. Now we are talking about
upwards of a half-million dollars in lost revenue over the terms of the lease agreements. OUCH!!
Now here’s the minor detail that will either cause you to laugh or cry about cellular antenna lease rates. The cell site acquisition subcontractor we told you about a few paragraphs ago, they might make a bonus of $500 to $2,500 for saving the carrier that $132,000 they were going to pay you if you would have agreed to the better terms. Are you negotiating cell tower lease rates on a level playing field with the cellular carriers?

Cell Tower Lease Frequently Asked Questions

July 11, 2009

Cell Tower Lease FAQ’s…

Q: Who are the carriers who could likely present me with a cell tower lease to be negotiated at my property?

A: Generally the wireless carrier will not present you directly with a cell tower lease. One of their wireless site acquisition or real estate managers will usually contact you first to gauge your interest level. You want to make sure before entering into a cell tower lease agreement with any of the wireless carriers doing business (ATT, Sprint-Nextel, US Cellular, Metro PCS, ClearWire, Verizon Wireless, Alltel, T-Mobile) or sign a contract with any of the large tower development or rooftop management companies (AAT, Crown, American Tower, SBA) that conduct your due diligence, but don’t wait too long.

Also if you’re lucky enough to be contacted by any of these firms, make sure that your you or your lawyer don’t negotiate yourselves out of a cell tower lease. Often times attorney’s start marking up a lease agreement just to get billable hours. If carriers have to waste a lot of time going back and forth they will move onto another site that’s willing to do business, and then you will wind up looking at the site instead of collecting rent from it.

Q: What should I look for in my cell phone tower lease?

A: A properly executed cell tower lease should protect your ground space rights, rooftop space rights and address subleasing / subletting issues that many cell site owners often time miss. It will also include tax language to protect you from assessments. Also, it is crucial to properly develop the site (height of tower and available ground space) to allow for expansion and collocation which will increase revenues on the cell tower. All cell tower lease exhibit drawings should be completed by a state licensed architectural engineering firm. I could write a list of a dozen things that seasoned real estate attorneys miss regularly on cell tower leases, but then where’s the fun in that?

Q: I don’t know anything about zoning or construction project management, should I even bother with getting a cellular site built on my building’s rooftop?

A: The carriers will not select your site if it is not feasible for development from a number of aspects, mainly zoning, and land use perspective. Only enter into a cell tower lease that puts the burden and expense of obtaining permits and approvals on the carrier or tower company, not on you the Owner/Landlord.

Q: What if cell towers become obsolete? What happens then?

A:     Carriers are heavily invested into the development of the wireless network. Over 70% of the U.S. population uses cell phones. So if you hear rumors about a balloon or blimp or satellite being used for cellular technology don’t be fooled, cell towers are here to stay. We didn’t stop using Sony Walkmans either, they just call them iPods now, but people will always want to have personal music players, and the same holds true for personal communication devices.

Q: How long will my cell tower lease be good for?

A:    When you sign a cell tower lease the lease term will be initially for 5 years with two renewal terms in most cases, and an additional ten year term after that. Since no one has a 35-year cellular tower lease as of yet, we can’t say how long they can be extended for, but assume that your cell site leases will be extended for as long as you own the site and people need to speak to each other on wireless devices.

Q:    How much can you get for your cell tower lease?

A: Isn’t this always the big question… And our answer is that it depends how badly they need your site and where you are located. The closer to the heart of a major metro area, the greater the demand for wireless coverage and capacity will be, and the more you can get. Rooftop sites vary from ground leases. For example in Columbus, Ohio you might get $1,100 per month each for three carriers on your rooftop totaling $3,300 per month. While if you had a cell tower on your property in the same city you might get $1,200 for the first carrier who built the tower, and to additional carriers pay rent to the first carrier to co-locate on their pole, and then each pay you $900 for ground space rights, or a total of $3,000 per month.

Q:    Shouldn’t My Attorney Be Able To Guide Us?

A:    A cell tower lease is a very intricate and specialized contract that is weighted heavily in favor of the cellular carrier. But think about it, it needs to be. Getting a cell tower built on your property is like having Donald Trump saying, “I’d like to have a small portion of your ground space, and I’m going to build a structure on your property that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars at MY expense, and it can potentially bring you $1-2 Million in rental income over a 25-30 year period if we can develop it properly. But I’m only going to do this if the contract protects my investment. And if you don’t like it, no hard feelings, the guy next door has 2,000 square feet of space and could use the retirement money.”

Now nothing against Mr. Trump, because he is an icon of success, but if you were going to sign a deal with him would you use an average attorney or get a top-gun attorney? And that’s where we run into a shortage of talent in the marketplace. Those who can afford it hire a specialized cell tower lease attorney, those who can’t cross their fingers and hope that they are getting a good deal.

That’s why cell tower development and leasing on your own is a challenge and why property owners who can find a partner to work with are well served in both the short and long term.

Q:    How can I get a cell tower lease signed for a tower on my property or antennas placed on our roof?

A:    Having an uncle working in the real estate department at one of the carriers is your best bet. If that’s not an option, submitting your site to the carriers directly gives you roughly a 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 chance for site selection.

Here’s our insider secret to getting a cellular carrier interested in your site, revealed for the first time anywhere. First, pray to the gods of Radio Frequency. Then print up a dozen or so 18 inch x 24 inch “bandit signs” on your property that say in bold letters “I Want a Cell Tower On My Property.” Your neighbors will probably steal them, but keep them posted on your property in a visible area. If a site acquisition consultant happens to be driving that way, you should get a call.

Steven Kazella is the President of AirWave Management, a leading wireless telecommunications consulting firm which assists property owners and building owners with cell tower leasing issues in the United States, leveraging nearly 50 years combined wireless lease negotiation and cell site development experience.

Bottom Feeders. Parasites. Wireless Bandits. Dealing with the riff-raff of cell phone tower lease renegotiation firms.

July 8, 2009

Bottom Feeders.


Wireless Bandits.

Dealing with the riff-raff of cellphone tower lease renegotiation firms.

Even with massive changes in cellular technology, there isn’t a decreased need or need for reduced cell sites. With every new subscriber available bandwidth shrinks and the need for capacity grows. Granted due to industry consolidation in RARE instances a carrier like Sprint or ATT might need to take down a tower because of redundancy. BUT they won’t keep a site online if it’s not serving a purpose.

However several unnamed wireless companies  “blitz” cell site owners on a massive scale with guerilla marketing tactics, bulk mailings and telemarketers.   These companies are supposed to use certified mail for any lease-related notification, not prepaid bulk mail.  Anytime one of these bottom-feeding wireless parasites masquerading as a wireless industry experts tries to enter into unauthorized cell tower lease re-negotiations as defined by the terms of the very leases they are are trying to “optimize”, I advise property owners to refer these firms to their Attorney General or to the FCC.  That usually stops the harassment.

Cell Towers Provide Ancillary Income for Self Storage Facility Operators

July 7, 2009

Self-storage facilities are usually good locations for the development of cell towers. Here’s a little secret the big self-storage chains don’t want independent storage property owners to know. The big guys know that in general, self-storage properties are tend to favor cell phone tower development for several different reasons.

Here are a few:

1. Location
2. Location
3. Location

Zoning comes in at a distant 4th place.

There are also about as many storage facilities in the USA as there are cell towers. The funny thing is that many of the larger property management companies actually have hired consultants who try to promote their sites to attract the ancillary income generated by renting space to wireless carriers. Ironically, not many of them are very good at wireless development, and due to turnover, it’s actually easier to get a cellular service provider interested in looking at your property if you are an independent owner.

Here’s another bit of insight.

About 100,000 new cell towers need to be built in the USA in the next 7-10 years in addition to the ones we already have. What if only 5% of them get developed on storage sites? The average 3-carrier cellular monopole pays around $2 million in rent over an average 25-30 year rental term. Also, wireless industry experts agree that over 70% of the American population use cellular phones. Just like the need for self storage facilities is not going anywhere but up, so is the demand for improved wireless coverage to meet coverage and capacity demand.

Getting your site in front of the carriers can be done by submitting them directly through the various corporate carrier websites. In this case there is probably less than a 1% chance of getting your site selected. Also, cutting through all the intricacy’s of a wireless lease can be tricky, even for a good real estate attorney. My suggestion is to find a wireless consulting firm with integrity that you can work with.

The bottom line is that income generated through the successful negotiation of a cell tower lease and construction of a cellular tower at your storage facility is dollar-for-dollar the best use of 2,000 square feet of ground space that you can get just about anywhere.

On our corporate website we go into detail regarding specific steps to take if you want to increase the chances of your site being selected. Essentially, the more information you give them about your site, the better. Can you get a cell tower built on your storage property on your own with the help of an industry expert? Yes. Can partnering with a tower consultant increase your chances of site selection? Yes. Especially if you own and operate a portfolio of storage facilities.

So here’s the $2 million dollar question…

Do you have 2,000 square feet of available ground space on your site where a carrier can place a tower?

Remember Albert Einstein once said, “nothing happens until something moves.” Same hold true for the development of cell tower sites at self-storage facilities.

Cell Phone Tower Lease Optimization

July 7, 2009

Cell phone tower lease optimization is a method used by some wireless carriers and their goons, aka wireless bottom feeders (you know who you are) to beat the the rent that landlords receive. Using these so-called wireless consultants gives the carriers the plausible deniability they need to look the other way . The bottom line is that regardless of what the wireless consultant on the other end of the phone tells you, there is a growing need for your site. The wireless carriers just do not want to pay out all that money so they can earn higher profits. They pay 3rd party subcontracting firms a.k.a. “wireless lease consultants” high commissions by successfully re-negotiating existing cell tower leases. the more money they knock off the rent, the higher their commissions.
Here’s some food for thought…
If wireless carriers need to build over 100,000 new cellular sites in the USA in the next several years, and your site needs to be optimized, why don’t they just call and RF Engineer to adjust the antennas? They are building more sites to meet demand. Industry experts are saying that cell phones will be the only phones we will have in the future, and that traditional landline phones will become obsolete. A lot more people will be using a greater number of cell phones, creating more demand for capacity. This equates to increased revenue for the wireless carriers.
Stop and think. If a wireless carrier pays you $1,000 per month for antenna space, how many people need to be subscribers in the radius of that tower to help them to break even on your rental payment? The average blackberry user pays around $100 per month for unlimited texting, data and email and has a voice plan to meet their requirements. How many people have more than one phone on their plan?
According to the USA Census Bureau, in 2003 there were 159 million cell phone users in the United States. In 2005 the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) reported over 204 million wireless phone subscribers in the USA or around 70% of the population.
So go look at your cell site or cell tower. Over 70% of the people who live closer to your site than the next cell site have their cell phone calls routed through your location and each of the carriers renting space there. Count how many people live in a 1/2 or 1 mile radius of your cell site. Multiply that number by 70%. Figure that most of these people pay between $40 and $100 monthly for their cell phone service. Take a look at your rental check. Then tell the cell site lease optimization company to go pound salt and bark up somebody else’s tree.
Wireless lease optimization is all smoke and mirrors. regardless of what the so-called experts claim. Carriers need your site. Period. There is an increase in demand and they need your site to off-load capacity and improve the network. I use the analogy of going from a two-lane country road to a 12-lane superhighway. Literally that is how the cellular industry is transforming right in front of us, yet there are companies that want you to believe that your site has a decreased demand.
Don’t be fooled into cell site lease optimization. It can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost rental income over the lifetime of your cell tower lease.

Welcome to my Cell Phone Towers Blog

July 7, 2009

Welcome to my Cell Phone Towers WordPress Blog.  One of my main reasons for starting this blog is to promote cell towers as opposed to the majority of blogs out there opposed to wireless development. Frankly, the wireless industry has not done a great job in promoting the positive aspects of cell phone towers.  Enjoy. SK.