Should Property Owners Rent Out Rooftops to Accelerate 5G Deployment?

The 5G revolution is here in full force and presents property owners with an intriguing decision: should I monetize my rooftop to facilitate 5G deployment? That’s because the transition from 4G to 5G requires roughly 5 to 10 times more wireless access points for the same coverage. Therefore, wireless providers need to get creative to find more places for these small-cell sites. Fortunately for property managers, a rooftop deployment strategy presents passive income opportunities that may help their P&L. 

But as a property owner, should you entertain that option? On the one hand, the passive income from hosting wireless equipment could be a great way to boost profits. On the other hand, you don’t know what you don’t know, and wireless is likely one of them. And while 5G will eventually arrive on every block, we’re still in the early innings of the 5G rollout. This provides some time to make the decision, although the 5G deployment race is picking up quickly. Here are several considerations to help you make an informed decision.

Consideration #1: Aesthetics

If you’re worried about a massive, unsightly tower taking over your roof, here’s some good news. Whereas 4G relies on “macro cells” (aka cell towers), 5G mostly relies on “micro cells” with a much smaller footprint.

Despite the smaller footprint, 5G has a wide range of frequencies, which means that some types of equipment are larger than others. Therefore, it’s important to get details about equipment size and the proposed placement on your property. If it doesn’t suit you, either walk away or negotiate a higher rate to make it more palatable. Or consider entering your properties into an online marketplace like Airwaive, which gives you access to multiple providers and offers.

An online marketplace puts property managers in the driver’s seat, providing access to multiple offers and providers.

Consideration #2: Health

Although electromagnetic radiation is not new, it still finds its way into the spotlight for potential health concerns. From radio to television to mobile phones, most electrical gadgets emit some amount of radiation. Although there are similarities in radiation between 4G and 5G, the range of 5G frequencies is much higher. It’s the higher frequencies of 5G, known as millimeter waves, that are in the spotlight of scientists and health researchers. Yet there is no conclusive evidence of any physical harm, including correlation with cancer. Furthermore, with a higher density of 5G small cells, the transmission power is lower than that of 4G. As a result, 5G may even have lower potential health risks than previous generations of wireless technology.

Higher frequencies enable higher 5G speeds, but their transmission power is reduced and regulated by the government to reduce harm.

Consideration #3: Lease Terms

As a property owner, you’re probably not an expert in the wireless industry. As a result, it’s easy to get pushed around by carriers and operators without even knowing it. For example, they may send contracts that are difficult to understand and naturally bent in their favor. Or they may set terms that you’re uncomfortable with but not sure how to push back.

While you should always have legal representation before entering into a contract, it’s best to have alternative offers beforehand. By using an online marketplace like Airwaive, property owners can work simultaneously with different operators, especially for properties in high-demand markets. Furthermore, online workflows automate traditionally manual and cumbersome tasks.

From equipment, location, payments, timeline, and other terms, Airwaive’s online platform streamlines the entire process.

Empowering Property Managers

As a property owner, you’re an expert in many things, but wireless is likely not one of them. As a result, it’s easy to get pushed around by carriers and operators without even knowing it. For example, their contracts are difficult to understand and naturally bent in their favor. Or they may set terms that you’re uncomfortable with but unsure how to push back.

While you should always have legal representation before entering into a contract, it’s best to have alternative offers. With Airwaive’s online platform, property owners can simultaneously work with different operators, especially in high-demand markets. Furthermore, our online workflows automate traditionally manual and cumbersome tasks. Therefore, if you’re looking for solutions that help level the playing field, Airwaive is here to help. We are empowering property owners around the world as we collectively help to bridge the digital divide. Click on the button below to join the Airwaive movement.

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