Yes, the wireless sky is falling according to various firms who want landlords to hire them to sell their Sprint leases. Our landlords are receiving letters and emails from various firms wanting to buy Sprint leases, with justifications such as:
‘Once the T-Mobile-Sprint deal is done, the value of your Sprint Site will drop to $0.’
‘Sprint will lay off 70+% of its staff.’
‘Sprint will shutter half of its cell sites. Yours will be one of the sites they shutter.’
‘Your Sprint site is surrounded by [insert any number] of T-Mobile sites.’
‘You’ve got a narrow and closing window to act before the FCC and DOJ green-light the merger.’
Once they have set their end-of-the-world table, these firms then suggest that now is the time to hire them to help sell the soon-to-be-worthless Sprint lease.
Wait, I don’t get it…
Why would any buyer be interested in buying a worthless site owned by a company that’s going to shed the better part of its staff, and shut down half of its sites?
Yes, why indeed!?
If history is any indicator, post-merger (by a couple of years), there will be some site shut downs, but many will survive. Not all the sites to shutter will belong to Sprint…some T-Mobile sites will be goners, too.
The lowest hanging fruit for shut downs will be where Sprint and T-Mobile are collocated on the very same tower or property. Next will likely Sprint and T-Mobile sites nearby to each other (blocks). Finally, sites further separated will get the evil eye.
Expect companies like MD7, BlackDot, and other so-called site lease optimizers to be pulled in to push landlords to cut their rents, extend their terms, and other fun stuff (wait for: ‘Hello landlord…Now that T-Mobile and Sprint have merged, they have too many sites. T-Mobile is considering terminating your lease, but if you give them a big fat kiss in the way of a long-term rent reduction, an elimination of other terms favorable to you, they’ll stay…’).
If the T-Mobile/Sprint deal is done, we’re in for interesting times. Before that, however, don’t get suckered into selling your Sprint (or T-Mobile) lease until you get competent counsel that help you understand your legal position.
Competent counsel does not come dressed like a little bird, nor does competent counsel cry out that the wireless sky is falling.