As the leading cell site lease investment firm in the world, APWireless currently has over 4,000 cell sites worldwide. The bigger our presence, the bigger our voice in the industry, which motivates carriers to want to work with us. What does this mean for you as the landlord of a cell site? More cell sites in better locations increase wireless carriers’ efficiency for new site colocations.
It’s worth noting that as mobile technology changes, wireless infrastructure needs to be upgraded to keep up with the demands and remain efficient. You can find out about the transition to 5G and its impact by reading the article What is 5G and how will it impact your life for the better? How will this affect current wireless infrastructure?
Macro Sites vs. Small Cells
Traditionally, carrier networks have mostly consisted of macro sites that can provide a wide area of coverage. These cell sites have normally been supplemented by rooftop installations in places where it’s not possible to install towers. The sites are not only expensive to build, but they also have limited capacity and offer limited coverage.
In lieu of expensive infrastructure that’s expensive to maintain and doesn’t satisfy new demands in terms of capacity and coverage, carriers have started to deploy smaller cell sites. In the near future, cell site deployment will consist of a combination of macro sites, small cells and assisting technology.
How Do Small Cells Work?
These new, cost-effective, sites will close the coverage gap between macro sites. They require smaller equipment, which means they can be attached to street lights, lamp poles and structures that are much smaller than a regular cell tower. While many more sites will be needed to provide effective coverage, the carriers’ need regarding cell site requirements will be different.
Does the deployment of small cells pose a threat to the wireless industry? As more equipment can be installed using poles and bypassing traditional cell towers, it seems logical to think that some cell sites will be decommissioned, given that they are so expensive to maintain. At this stage, it’s still impossible to determine the extent to which the deployment of small cells will impact traditional towers.
Is It Better to Have Small Cells on Your Property?
While small cells are being released by the carriers, it’s important to know that there is a difference in what you, as a landlord, would receive in lease payments. Rental rates for small cells will be significantly lower than what you would normally receive for a traditional cell tower. Not only are they more efficient for wireless carriers in terms of coverage and capacity (not to mention cost of installation and maintenance!), but they would also need to roll out an important quantity of them.
So How Can You Prepare For This Change?
Keep in mind that you have the option of receiving a lease buyout for your cell site lease now. In doing so, you can achieve liquidity and eliminate the risks that come with leasing space to carriers. What’s more, you can remove the hassle of lease management and focus on what’s most important to you, be it investing in your business, saving for retirement or travelling the world.