Experts at Cell Tower Valuation

Estimating the cost to construct new towers (monopole, lattice, and guide) of the same functionality can help build fair values for your network assets across geographies. CQA creates replacement cost new models, where possible, to generate alternatives to book values. These models not only satisfy transfer tax and asset allocation jurisdictional requirements, they can be incorporated into USPAP-compliant reports by our ASA appraisers. We’ve valued networks all over the U.S. and have network experts on staff to build your model.

Why fair market value for cell towers matter


Building fair valuations that adequately capture the true value of your towers is critical for any financial due diligence. CQA can help with jurisdictional transfer tax or purchase price allocation requirements.


Current book value doesn’t always properly capture the value of your network. CQA replacement cost new models can help you build fair valuations with taxing authorities and have been used in negotiations across the United States.


Let’s face it, rate of return models don’t always tell the full story. CQA obsolescence studies and valuation efforts can help you build your case for pricing and rate making that more accurately reflect your business and where you’re headed.

Our goal in the valuation process is to produce a well-documented and supportable opinion of value that shows that an appraiser has considered all factors that affect the value of the assets being appraised.

Full ASA Appraisal

We work with you from start to finish to build a USPAP compliant report and can testify if needed.

Modeling Support

We join your existing team to build part of the appraisal report.

How CQA Determines Fair Market Value for Cell Towers

The cost approach, commonly used by appraisers to assess the fair market value of property, comes in two variations: reproduction cost and replacement cost. In both scenarios, an appraiser starts with a value, then deducts for the loss in value caused by physical deterioration, functional obsolescence, and external obsolescence.

We specialize in the replacement cost new approach

Where the reproduction cost new is the cost of constructing an exact replica of the property at current prices with the same or closely related materials, the replacement cost new is the cost of a new property with similar functional utility. The replacement cost new tends to be the proper starting point for developing the value of a cell tower site because it’s often more practical to replace property than to build an exact replica.

Benefits of the replacement cost new approach

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Eliminate Ghose Assets

Ghost assets are those that were placed and decommissioned later, but remain on the books of record.
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Capture the Impact of Upgrades

The investment on the books accumulate the costs resulting from the fact that with each upgrade, sites must be repeatedly engineered, inspected, and permitted.
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Site Optimization Changes its Cost

There can be a stark difference between the cost reflected by a current site, which may have been built incrementally for different tenants over time and one that is optimized during initial construction. For example, an overall optimization of the site through jointly constructed foundations/conduit and efficient fencing can produce a different value than the current incremental build.
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Excess Costs Can Be Removed

Simply put, things change over time and previously recorded costs can reflect assumptions that are now outdated. Cost of materials, equipment, labor, historical practices, and deployment strategies not aligned with today’s norms can show unintended excess cost.

Factors that Influence Cell Tower Valuation

The CQA replacement cost new (RCN) models account for the requirements to support tenants, location parameters, and design rules to assemble the site equipment and materials necessary to deliver services of equivalent utility within the tower owner’s network but excludes those assets owned by tenants at the site. The main factors that influence the model output can be categorized as location parameters and site component parameters.


Location parameters that impact cell tower valuation

We have developed a great partnership with CostQuest Associates and their dedication to detail is evident in their appraisal reports. They are the industry experts in telecommunications with a staff that is knowledgeable and professional. CostQuest has a proven track record of success that has met our expectations.
Charles W. Elms Jr. | AVP Indirect Tax – Frontier Communications
Partnering with CostQuest to understand and quantify the impact of technology changes has allowed our department to add significant value to our company initiatives. Their technical knowledge and comprehensive RCN modeling is second to none and made them the obvious choice.
Pamela W. | Executive Director – Property Tax, Comcast Corporation

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