An Airwavz customer recently received an email and shared it with us (we changed the names to make this anonymous):
From: John Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2018 11:29 AM
To: CRE Property Managers
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Free DAS system for your building
< The company I’m representing > would like to install a Neutral Host DASDistributed Antenna System-for Cellular (ATT, Verizon, Sprint & T-Mobile) in your <insert property name> Building (for FREE to handle cellular capacity issues for your guests and staff). There is no cost to your company and you share in the revenue stream. < The company I’m representing > is offering more monies than anyone in the industry. The 5G network hits in 2020 and could create up to a 500K%+ increase in data. This is the best program in the industry and I would love to discuss at your convenience. (edited for brevity)
DAS Site Acquisition Specialist
Sounds pretty good, right? A fully functioning DAS system can cost millions of dollars, so getting one for free is a pretty sweet deal.
In case you’re wondering, here’s how the “Free DAS” promise works. Site acquisition specialists work on behalf of large wireless system infrastructure providers like tower companies and others and do whatever it takes to secure an agreement that relinquishes a building owner’s rights to the cellular wireless systems in their building in exchange for the promise of free equipment, carrier connections, and even revenue sharing opportunities.
If it sounds familiar it’s because it’s the same model used to put cellular towers on commercial building rooftops once upon a time. They secure the space, shop it to carriers, the carriers pay up and you get a small slice of the action.
Only problem is, it doesn’t work that way for in-building wireless.
Getting any of these promises fulfilled requires the cellular carriers to fund the DAS/in-building wireless system.
To be clear: there’s no free DAS until they get at least one
cellular carrier to pay for the multi-million-dollar system.
Couple this with the cellular carriers’ lack of capital dollars to make this happen plus their inherent disdain for companies that play in the “lock up the building for ransom” space, and the end result is you wait for years and years for something to happen, and nothing ever comes of the big promises made. You’ve received exactly what you paid for.
Meanwhile your competition has found a solution that works because they were willing to invest a little to gain a lot. Their vacancy rate improved (or they retained their stellar occupancy) and even bumped up rent on new agreements to cover their modest cost for a solution.
Once upon a time, Airwavz played in the “Free DAS” space when the wireless carriers were still willing to selectively foot the bill for such systems in commercial buildings. They simply aren’t playing that game anymore, but unfortunately there are still a lot of companies out there promising something that in all probability just won’t ever be delivered without the building owner committing to help fund at least some of the wireless infrastructure.
If you’re a building or property manager, developer or part of the technology team at a REIT, please email us and we’ll share information we’ve received from the wireless carriers that will verify this is the case: FREE DAS IS DEAD.
At Airwavz our goal is to bring building owners and cellular carriers together in a mutually beneficial arrangement so the tenants and guests inside a commercial building get the best wireless service possible. You won’t hear us promise anything for free, whether to CRE ownership or cellular carriers. But we will promise that when every party – and that includes Airwavz – has financial skin in the in-building wireless game, then everybody wins.
Airwavz provides a turnkey solution as your total wireless infrastructure provider, with 24/7 system monitoring, maintenance, change/move services and stellar customer service. For more information and to receive a customized plan for your building, please call us at 1-833-AIRWAVZ, or submit our contact form.