On October 17, 2017, SoftBank and Lendlease announced in a press release their plans to form a joint venture in the wireless industry that will “develop and own infrastructure assets in the United States.”
The new venture – to be named Lendlease Towers – is poised to manage approximately 8,000 cellular sites, with an initial focus on leases currently with Sprint. However, the company says they intend to work with all major carriers over the long term.
With Lendlease Towers’ entrance into the US market, they will likely gain a strong foothold and quickly emerge as a major competitor to the largest players in this space, including American Tower, Crown Castle, and SBA Communications.
What Property Owners Should Expect
If you’re a property owner currently holding a lease contract with Sprint for a cellular tower or wireless rooftop infrastructure on your property, here are a few things you can expect.
Once Lendlease Towers and Sprint reach a final agreement, you’ll receive a formal written notice in the mail – if your lease is one of those transferred in the deal. This communication will contain information that the owner of the lease has changed. At this point, it’s unlikely you need to do anything. The timeframe for the completion of the agreement is not public knowledge; however, it’s reasonable to assume they will send the written notices several weeks after completing the deal.
Eventually, the new owners are expected to request upgrades or other modifications to the leases they have acquired from Sprint (or other carriers). To do so, they may need your permission. Whether your consent is required will depend entirely on the terms of your lease. Keep in mind: you are the property owner. You do not have to sign anything or agree to anything simply because a large corporation has requested it.
As you receive the formal notification and any requests for lease modifications, be sure to consider the impact to your property or to any income streams generated by your lease(s).
Don’t make the mistake of signing any lease amendments before discussing the situation with a qualified attorney. An attorney with experience in these types of agreements can help protect your rights as a property owner, safeguard any lease-related income streams, and ensure that any amendments will not be detrimental to your land or building assets.
Need Help Navigating These Upcoming Changes?
As Lendlease Towers begins to acquire lease agreements from Sprint and other carriers, be sure you have an attorney who is well-versed in wireless lease contracts. InTown Legal is prepared to bring our expertise to the table for you. We provide agile, creative solutions to solve your legal needs at the speed of business.