In various markets in California, Clearwire (sometimes Clear Wireless LLC) is seeking tower site landlord authorization to add to an existing site. Sometimes the applications or lease amendments are tendered by Sprint (which owns 51% of the legally-separate Clearwire entity), but I’ve also seen other wireless carriers ask permission to sublease their tower space to Clearwire without offering any financial benefit to the tower site owner. Sometimes the tenant will tell the landlord that some provision of the lease requires the landlord to give permission (seems odd and in conflict doesn’t it… a lease requirement that the landlord must give a permission).
Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s worth pulling our your original lease (and any amendments you’ve signed) to see whether adding Clearwire (or any new proposed site occupant) is permitted or required under the lease, or whether this is an opportunity for you to adjust your site revenue upwards to reflect the new addition, and ‘true-up’ other open items connected with your tower lease.
Be especially careful if your wireless carrier tenant approaches you for permission to sublease to another wireless firm AND asks for a rent reduction at the same time. Talk about galling!
I’ve had site landlords approach me recently who find themselves in one or more of the ugly positions I’ve just listed. If you’d like legal assistance to avoid giving away potential new revenue, and to avoid giving away your current revenue, drop me an electronic note or give me a call.
Jonathan Kramer, Esq.
Kramer Telecom Law Firm, PC