'4G auction may benefit landowners'
A chartered surveyor said landowners with mobile phone masts on their property could be able to cash in on the latest 4G auction.
Telecoms regulator Ofcom has raised £2.34 billion from its auction of the superfast 4G mobile spectrum this week – about £1 billion less than expected.
Licences went to Everything Everywhere, Hutchison 3G UK, Telefonica, Vodafone and BT subsidiary Niche Spectrum Ventures.
It means Vodafone, Telefonica and Three can launch 4G services as early as May or June, six months after EE was able to switch on 4G using spectrum it already owned.
Chris Hicks is head of telecoms at Fisher German, based at its Harborough office.
He said landlords with mobile phone mast leases should be aware that operators do not necessarily have the automatic right to alter, upgrade and add equipment to existing sites.
He said: "Such requests may allow leases to be renegotiated resulting in one-off additional premium payments, a variation of the rent in the landlords' favour and a variation of lease terms.
"Some leases simply do not permit 4G use of sites and are restricted to 2G and 3G uses only.
"Landlords should consider very carefully what the use of a telecommunications lease actually permits."