Your cell tower lease is not as dependable as you might think. Your rent can go away for many reasons, most of them completely out of your control. Consolidation in the industry, increases in data demand, and advancements in cellular technology can all play a role in a wireless carrier’s decision to terminate a lease.
As wireless carriers look for ways to cut down operating expenses and gain market share in an industry that is demanding more and more bandwidth, mergers and partnerships between carriers become increasingly likely. When carrier consolidations occur, landlords of redundant cell towers and rooftop sites are at risk of receiving a termination letter. While increased data demand would seem to mean better security for your cell tower, it doesn’t always work that way.
The design and location of a wireless network is extremely complicated and constantly changing. Not only does new wireless technology allow for more cellular data to be transmitted over longer distances, but new delivery methods also threaten to replace traditional cell tower or rooftop antenna, resulting in fewer sites needed to cover demand. So while it is true that new cell towers are being built to handle more traffic, existing sites that no longer fit the network plan are also being taken down (view examples).
Even for those who design the network, it is virtually impossible to predict which sites will be casualties of cell tower terminations. To illustrate this point, although we are telecom experts and do a tremendous amount of due diligence to determine the long-term prospects of every cell tower and rooftop antenna lease we buy, we still lose sites every year.