What you need to know about mobile phone mast leases

What you need to know about mobile phone mast leases

Mobile phone mast leasing happens every day. Oftentimes, mobile operators rent spaces on rooftops or land to install mobile phone antennas or telecom masts so that they can provide more signal and better coverage to the population. Read more to know about the process, applied regulation and the permissions required.

What is a mobile phone mast lease?

Nowadays, the concept of a mobile phone mast lease is quite popular. More and more people need to make calls and connect to the internet without interruption. That is why more phone masts are needed to enable this real-time connection.

Mobile Network Operators such as Vodafone, Eir or Three Ireland need the right space — whether it be rural or urban — to install these antennas or masts.

Operators usually build antennas or masts on third-party properties, signing legal agreements with the landowners. The owners, in turn, receive a periodic rental payment in exchange for the installation of the tower or antenna on their parcel of land or on the roof of their building.

This arrangement can be beneficial for both parties for a period of time, as the operator can then deploy or expand its network and provide coverage to more users, without having to purchase the land to install the antennas, while the land or building owners benefit because they, on the other hand, receive a periodic rent for as long as the contract is in place; however, this is not a term certain income.

The importance of location

A key element for network deployment is the location of each cell site. Operators know where they need to install the cell sites, which can be in rural or urban areas and over time reconfigure these  locations dependant on changing network needs- the telecoms market in this regard is fluid and constantly evolving.

When  Mobile Network Operators decide to deploy or upgrade their network, time is of the essence. They must start right away to be able to offer the best service possible.

Aside from the site conditions to install the cell sites, different factors can affect the future agreements between the owner and the operator. These factors include market conditions through changing interest rates, the number of operators that will be physically on the site, inflation, current bandwidth, the rent to be paid together with various other considerations and  assessment of the Mobile Network Operator’s  own costs.

Mobile phone masts regulation

The installation of new mobile phone masts in Ireland falls under the responsibility of the Commission For Communications Regulation (“COMREG”). COMREG is the organisation that defines the criteria for the location of antennas as well as the characteristics that individuals must comply with for their installation, authorisations, use of land, necessary permissions and various other factors.

Local Councils must authorise the installation and ensure that is in compliance with the established standards and requirements. This affects installations on both rural land and urban buildings.

How much do operators pay for installing an antenna or a mobile phone mast?

Before starting the process of leasing land to install an antenna or a mobile phone mast, the first question a landowner may ask is how much money operators will pay. The answer is that this will depend on the factors mentioned above including the quality of location, whether a hub site or more regional site for local capacity is being deployed and the subsequent negotiation that ensues. Rents are however typically on a downward trend.

Once a landlord has entered into an agreement with an operator, they then have an alternative to the  rental income offered through a Mobile Network Operator license agreement. This is in the form of a rolled up premium (“Lease Premium”).A Lease Premium  consists of offering the landowner an upfront, guaranteed lumpsum in exchange for the right to  manage the agreement with the Mobile Network Operator, and receive the rent associated with the contract for a specified period of time. An added benefit of this arrangement is that the landowner will also pass across the risk of the Mobile Network Operator decommissioning or terminating the agreement.

This alternative applies to parcels of land as well as to  rooftop masts. Whenever there is an  agreement associated with the antenna or a mobile phone mast, an agreement can be made to purchase the rental income associated with the site

The terms of the agreement are agreed upon with each parties legal representatives  , so that both parties can be certain that everything complies with the established regulations. This ensures that the owner can exercise the right to sell their land or real estate in the future in a normal manner.

Although the risks associated with the license of the antenna or mast location persist, given the fluid nature of technology, with a lease premium, the owner no longer assumes those risks and can capitalise on that rent. Given our scale, APWireless can mitigate against such risks and .Thanks to our  diversified portfolio of assets, we can afford to pay attractively for a telecoms asset.

Do you have any questions about mobile phone mast leases, how suitable your property may be for a mobile phone mast or, if you are an existing phone mast owner, do you want to learn more about the asset located on your property? Contact APWireless by calling 091 457880, or visit www.apwireless.ie , and one of our Acquisitions Directors will advise you on your cell site or lease.