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ANSWERED on Sun 6 May 2012 - 7:13 pm UTC by Bobbie Sevens

Question: Revenue from cell towers on church steeples

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 1 May 2012 01:23 UTCTue 1 May 2012 - 1:23 am UTC 

On a walk through Outremont (Montreal) Quebec I noticed a large church on or near the corner of Laurier and Bloomfield with several cell antennae discretely surrounding the steeple. They were hardly noticable as their colour blended with the stone of the tower. A source of ongoing funds for the church coffers I presumed.

I would like to know how much revenue is derived from such installations on church steeples.

Could you supply a number of examples / stories from different locations, preferrably in Canada? The stories should detail the revenue scenario. Of special interest is how the fee paid by the phone company is calculated.

Thank you.






 6 May 2012 13:44 UTCSun 6 May 2012 - 1:44 pm UTC 

Information from other countries on cell antennae generated revenue on 3rd party sites would be acceptable as an answer.


David Sarokin 


 6 May 2012 14:27 UTCSun 6 May 2012 - 2:27 pm UTC 

The actual amounts paid for cell phone tower leases seems to be a well-kept secret. I did come across a few (US) city budgets and similar documents that indicate rates of $1,000 to $3,000 per month were fairly typical. However, there wasn't a lot of detail provided about the lease arrangements.

Churches are often the tallest structures in small local communities. If a phone company wants an antenna in the area, the church may be in a pretty good position to negotiate a good lease deal. In a city with many tall structures, a single building probably has less negotiating leverage.

That's as much as I saw on this topic.





 6 May 2012 15:13 UTCSun 6 May 2012 - 3:13 pm UTC 

Thank you David. I appreciate you looking around.


Bobbie Sevens 


 6 May 2012 19:13 UTCSun 6 May 2012 - 7:13 pm UTC 

Hi Brudenell,

Pricing information

$800 to $1,200 a month
"Industry experts such as Florida-based attorney Ken Schmidt say churches in metro Phoenix can generate $800 to $1,200 a month for each tower for which they contract."

"Most zoning codes say you can't build a tower in a residential area," he said. "So churches are an ideal solution. They typically allow the providers to get nearer to homes than most commercial or industrial property."
Feb. 20, 2011 : The Arizona Republic

$500 to $4,000 a month
The contracts for the churches in the New England Conference have varied from $500 to $4,000 a month, depending on where the church is located, April 1, 2005       
From "Churches sell steeple space as hiding spots for cellular antennas"

$1,000 to $2,500 a month
"An attorney who specializes in the leases said churches can negotiate renting the space for anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 a month and the towers can usually be camouflaged as to not detract from the structure's original appearance. The attorney warns churches to be extremely careful that the contracts don't make them in anyway liable or add to their maintenance costs."
CBN News: November 16, 2010

This article says phone companies can pay up to $2000 a month.

"Without a clear answer as to the effects of cell towers it is surprising that they are popping up everywhere. Churches low on cash or in need of repairs may find having a tower on their property beneficial. Phone companies pay rent for their placement and this can be up to $2000 a month. The company benefits greatly in this exchange; because even if a wise community has rejected a new tower, church property is often exempt from local zoning, land use laws and regulations pertaining to cell towers. Many of these churches are also home to daycare centers, and because of the way these new towers are hidden, people living around them or attending church inside may have no idea they are that close to a cell tower."

$3,000 a month
"Churches, for one, have reaped benefits in helping the wireless industry. By welcoming the cell towers, they may earn up to $3,000 a month or more in lease agreements with telecommunications companies.
Winnetka Covenant, located in an annexed portion of Wilmette, couldn't afford a new steeple until VelociTel picked up the $225,000 tab. The monthly lease payments, too low to jeopardize the church's tax-exempt status, will help replace the roof, said John Breidenbach, a church member and architect who designed the project, completed about a month ago." http://internetmor76.blogspot.com/2012/02/cell-towers-latest-hiding-place-church.html#!/2012/02/cell-towers-latest-hiding-place-church.html

Cell tower leasing rates vary from county to county within a state. In 2009 we negotiated several cell site leases with the same carrier in the New York City Metropolitan Area, and the leases negotiated varied from $1,500 per month to $3,000 per month. The difference in price had a lot to do with wireless ordinances and poor coverage in a critical area.
Here are samples of some recent cell tower lease rates we have seen offered initially to landlords in various parts of the country for tower leases and rooftop leases:

• New Jersey, T-Mobile $1,500
• New Jersey, Clearwire $1,100
• New Jersey, T-Mobile $1,250
• New Jersey, Verizon Wireless, $1,650
• New York, Metro PCS $1,300
• Pennsylvania, AT&T $750
• Pennsylvania, Verizon Wireless $600
• Virginia, AT&T $500
• Los Angeles, T-Mobile $1,300
• Houston, TX Clearwire $900
• San Diego, California $1,400 T-Mobile
Cell Phone Towers Blog:  2010/08/07

"AT&T will pay the Poway Unified School District $382,000 to install cellular antennas above the football stadium at Del Norte High School."
10News : August 10, 2010

"Broadcast equipment can also be installed in a church steeple, on a billboard, or water tower. When a church steeple is used, the equipment is usually installed inside the steeple with the inconspicuous antennas mounted near the top of the steeple. If the church has a billboard, the antennas can be mounted on the billboard with the equipment mounted on the ground next to the billboard. Just as with a ground-based site, cell phone company personnel must have access to the broadcast equipment for maintenance purposes all day, every day."
Church Buyers Guide; 9/01/2006

Leasing information

The Cell Tower Lease

"Generally the wireless carrier will not present you directly with a cell tower lease. One of their wireless site acquisition or real estate managers will usually contact you first to gauge your interest level.
A properly executed cell tower lease should protect your ground space rights, rooftop space rights and address subleasing / subletting issues that many cell site owners often time miss. It will also include tax language to protect you from assessments. Also, it is crucial to properly develop the site (height of tower and available ground space) to allow for expansion and collocation which will increase revenues on the cell tower. All cell tower lease exhibit drawings should be completed by a state licensed architectural engineering firm."
(. . .)

"The carriers will not select your site if it is not feasible for development from a number of aspects, mainly zoning, and land use perspective. Only enter into a cell tower lease that puts the burden and expense of obtaining permits and approvals on the carrier or tower company, not on you the Owner/Landlord."

(. . .)


"The closer to the heart of a major metro area, the greater the demand for wireless coverage and capacity will be, and the more you can get. Rooftop sites vary from ground leases. For example in Columbus, Ohio you might get $1,100 per month each for three carriers on your rooftop totaling $3,300 per month. While if you had a cell tower on your property in the same city you might get $1,200 for the first carrier who built the tower, and to additional carriers pay rent to the first carrier to co-locate on their pole, and then each pay you $900 for ground space rights, or a total of $3,000 per month."

(. . .)

"When you sign a cell tower lease the lease term will be initially for 5 years with two renewal terms in most cases, and an additional ten year term after that."
Cell Tower Lease FAQ's

Cell Tower Lease Guidelines

"Cell Towers and Your Church"
This article provides  information and advice on leasing cell towers.

Another good article
Cell Tower Leases - - Do’s and Don’ts for Churches

Here’s a cell tower lease proposal

"Wireless carriers pay their real estate site acquisition leasing contractors high commissions for executing cell tower leases at certain price points. The better the terms agreed to in favor of the carrier, the higher the bonus is that’s paid to the leasing agent."
Cell Phone Towers Blog:  2010/06/19

Here is a list of links to articles about churches and  cell towers

Of interest:
Steel in the Air consultants provide a wealth of information on their website. They specialize in assisting public and private landowners with cell tower and cell site leases, working with clients in the U.S., the Caribbean, and Canada.
See the site map on the bottom of the page for articles and information.


Cell Phone Towers And Solar Panels
Guidance For Churches Evaluating Business Proposals

Celltower.ca provides many informative articles

I hope the information provided is helpful.

Best regards,





 11 May 2012 09:30 UTCFri 11 May 2012 - 9:30 am UTC 

Hello Bobbie

My apologies for being so late to respond as I have been traveling.

What a pleasure it was to open Uclue to see this answer! This is exactly the kind of response I was seeking. Thorough and very well done.

Thank you very much.




Bobbie Sevens 


 11 May 2012 16:17 UTCFri 11 May 2012 - 4:17 pm UTC 


Thank you for your kind words and tip!

Best regards,


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