Mobile Tower Valuation and Appraisal / HOME

Mobile Tower Valuation and Appraisal

Here at SiteXcell, we've had multiple requests for the valuation of mobile towers. Some of the requests come from valuers who have been called upon to evaluate a mobile tower for various purposes. If you are just leasing property and do not own the mobile tower, please see our Mobile Tower Lease Buyouts and Reductions page for more information on valuation of mobile tower leases.

Mobile towers have been traditionally sold on the basis of a multiple of net cash flow. The multiples range according to the buyer and can be manipulated by the manner in which they are calculated.

Primarily, tower owners may see the opportunity to sell to continue building more towers or see another investment opportunity and need the capital that is unavailable from other traditional sources.

The point of all this is that the valuation of towers is high. Some valuers who contact us believe that they can apply traditional valuation techniques to tower valuation. By looking at comparables, i.e. sales of similar towers, they can establish value. Unfortunately, traditional commercial property does not have the same level of federal protection as provided in the Telecommunications Act of 1997, nor are other commercial types of property subject to the low churn our industry sees. To further complicate matters, it may be difficult to procure a statistically sufficient sample of transactions, especially current ones, to be able to do an accurate comparison.

The multiple established for mobile tower purchases is a combination of a number of factors:

  1. Current Tenant Base on the Tower: Are any of the tenants likely to terminate their lease prior to the last term? Are any of the tenants a financial credit risk?
  2. Age of the Tower: How long has the tower been standing? How aggressive or conservative has the lease-up on the tower been?
  3. Town Planning Restrictions: Is the tower in an area where local council will prohibit competing towers from being built?
  4. Location of Competing Towers: Are there other towers within a given distance that offer competing service to wireless clients? If there are nearby towers, are they really competing for the same clientele?
  5. Structural Capacity of the Tower: How many tenants was the tower originally designed for? How much capacity remains?
  6. Ground Space Availability: Is there ground space available for current tenants expansion or for future tenant's equipment?
  7. Location of Tower: What are the coverage objectives of the tower? Is the tower primarily in a rural/suburban/urban area? What do the surrounding areas present in the way of line of sight or obstacles.

It should be clear from the factors above that mobile tower valuation is based not only on existing tenants but on future capacity for tenants as well. While the valuation of an existing tower that is fully loaded is relatively straight forward, the valuation of an existing tower with significant capacity remaining is not.

That is why attempting to appraise a mobile tower solely on the basis of comparables may struggle to provide optimal valuation. Each tower is unique as the parcel of land it is on. We can assist you in evaluating a tower or portfolio of towers. Please feel free to contact us for additional information.

If you own a mobile tower (meaning that you actually own the steel) and are curious about its value, please contact us for a mobile tower valuation. We will need copies of your leases on the tower with the wireless carriers. If you do not have a mobile carrier or TV or FM/AM broadcasters leasing your tower, we can't provide a valuation because it is outside of our expertise. Please note that this offer only extends to the direct owner of the tower.