The roll-out of super-fast 5G mobile technology starting this summer is likely to lead to an increased demand for telecommunications agreements.
John McLean from Thursfields’ Birmingham office, who is head of the TMT team and an expert in the telecoms sector, notes that the new EE and Vodafone networks will create numerous commercial opportunities but has advised landowners and tenants to take legal advice before signing up to any agreements.
EE launched its first 5G sites in May in key cities across the country, including central Birmingham, while Vodafone launched in Birmingham in July, with Wolverhampton expected to be added later this year once the first phase is complete.
John said: “The roll-out of 5G provides some exciting opportunities for businesses across the region.
This will really open up the way business is conducted – for example, professionals in the property sector will soon be able to create live reports on site with full access to the internet, rather than waiting to get back to base to write them up.
The possibilities are endless, and entrepreneurial businesses will be quick to take advantage.
However landowners and tenants considering any new agreements to host 5G networks need to ensure they take legal advice before signing up to them as they are protected by the Electronic Communications Code, which gives strong rights to operators.
Because the code seeks to substantially increase nationwide connectivity, it makes it more difficult to remove mobile phone masts from their land once they have been erected, which can be particularly problematic if a landowner or tenant has redevelopment projects in the future.”
John has been acting for landowners for over 12 years on agreements under the Electronic Communications Code and so has a detailed knowledge of recent changes that have been made in the last 18 months.
This includes the introduction of the new Code in December 2017 – with changes on assignment, upgrading and sharing, security of tenure and valuations.
He conducted a programme of seminars for RICS last year on the topic, to update surveyors in the East and West Midlands, and further afield.
He has also been acting for local broadband operators in the past three years, providing a unique perspective on the Code from all angles.
John added: “Unless landlords and tenants and smaller operators understand the detailed implications of telecommunications agreements, these could eventually prove to be problems.
What Thursfields can provide are template agreements or leases that have been amended to be fit for purpose under the latest details of the new code.”
Anyone wanting further advice on telecommunications agreements can contact John McLean at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0121 227 3360