What does the future of cell towers hold for landlords and land owners?
That's the burning question for about 250,000 cell site lease holders who are trying to figure out if they can count on getting that monthly rental check from Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, U.S. Cellular, Sprint, T-Mobile, Cricket or Metro PCS here in the United States. Every year some wing-nut telecom nerd writing for one of the savvy technology blogs or websites writes a feel-good article on how the ugly cellular towers polluting the sky will soon become obsolete and replaced by some pocket-sized cube that does not cause global warming or kill the Hudson River Red Tailed Pigeon, or by a network of tiny satellites, or by hot air balloons, by some advance in nanotechnology or possibly by bridge trolls.
Sure, the carriers have built out DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) in places where usually no other coverage solutions existed. But these DAS systems are extremely expensive and will never replace cell phone towers in our lifetime.
Will cell towers become obsolete?
Cell towers will become obsolete only when Chevy Suburban's and Ford F-150's can drive down the Interstate at 70 MPH fully powered by solar panels made in the USA. The demand for bandwidth is growing faster than the carriers can sell smart phones. Even if they came up with some amazing technology that could replace cell towers, it would easily take 10 years or more to implement. Think about it, how many of you reading this currently have mediocre to poor wireless coverage now as compared to 5 years ago before every 12 year-old started getting data text messages on their cell phones? Do you regularly drop calls? How many times did you call the customer service line to complain? Wonder why they couldn't fix it? They need more cell towers, not fewer cell sites, and telecom scientists have not yet invented the all-purpose cell tower bandwidth nano-widget to replace that big hunk of steel in the air protruding skyward in your neighborhood.
How many places have little or no coverage now? I feel bad for the 55 million rural folks once again left without coverage. It's time spread the capacity, so everyone has coverage, and take all the cell sites from Wall Street, decommission them and relocate them to rural Vermont. LOL.
Will some new technology replace cell sites?
Rumor has it that the current administration is looking at converting all of the Chevy Volt's ever produced into roaming telecommunication base stations in the San Francisco Bay Area to replace all existing cell sites. We will keep you posted on the progress of this green initiative.
What's going to happen to my cellular site lease revenue?
Inevitably some wireless landlords will agree to have carriers reduce their cell tower rents and have their cell site leases optimized to appease the cost cutting carriers so they can continue providing so-so coverage to their beloved subscribers. At the conclusion of every five-year term, landlords who agree to a rent reduction can expect to have the carriers re-optimize their previously optimized cell tower leases until eventually either cell towers will become obsolete or the carriers will be renting space on their fully optimized leased property for free.
We have answered many critical questions here, and after reading our in-depth analysis into the inner eye of the cell tower infrastructure and leasing industry, you are likely scratching your head, and wondering how it is possible that there is only one truly independent carrier neutral cell tower consulting firm in the United States which is loved by landlords and despised by the establishment.
How are you going to affect lasting bandwidth change? Occupy your cell phone tower.