The Recent Change to Section 68 of PSTIA 2022 and How It Will Impact Phone Mast Landlords

by | 26 Dec 2023 | Advice, Industry News

In the dynamic realm of telecommunications law, a pivotal shift is on the horizon with the impending enforcement of section 68 of the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 (PSTIA 2022) on 7 November 2023. This amendment, specifically targeting paragraph 35 of the Electronic Communications Code 2017, brings forth a new wave of implications for phone mast landlords across the UK.

Understanding Section 68 of PSTIA 2022

At the heart of the matter, section 68 of PSTIA 2022 allows parties to apply for a Code rent to be payable from the moment an application is made for the termination, amendment, or renewal of a telecoms agreement. This change grants telecoms operators a distinct advantage by potentially lowering their rent right from the outset of the application process.

Impact on Rental Levels

The Electronic Communications Code’s “no-network assumption” alters the traditional dynamics of rent determination, removing the influence of supply and demand. Consequently, statutory valuation mechanisms have significantly reduced rents from pre-Code levels, reshaping the landscape of negotiations between operators and landlords.

Operators’ Strategic Advantage

With the ability to apply for a new rent from the date of their original application, operators gain a strategic edge. This newfound advantage is particularly significant given the extended duration of proceedings, lasting between six and eighteen months. Operators can now secure a lower rent from the initiation of the reference, altering the negotiation dynamics in their favour.

Response Strategies

In response to these changes, operators may choose to expedite proceedings, apply for interim rent orders to reduce costs, or leverage the ability to claim interim rent as a negotiation tool. Conversely, site providers may strategise by delaying proceedings to benefit from higher rents until the last possible moment or concluding proceedings swiftly to minimise costs.

Navigating the Digital Economy Landscape

The modifications introduced by Section 68 of PSTIA 2022 align with the government’s commitment to fostering the growth of the digital economy, emphasising the need for efficient infrastructure and the widespread adoption of high capacity 5G networks.

Consider Exploring Options

Given the evolving legal landscape, phone mast landlords may also want to explore alternative options. Selling your phone mast to an investor for a premium payment can potentially alleviate the burden of dealing with operators going forward, ensuring a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Conclusion

As section 68 of PSTIA 2022 comes into force, the dynamics between operators and phone mast landlords undergo a transformative shift. Navigating these changes requires a degree of understanding of your rights and the evolving legal landscape. The Phone Mast Advice Company remains committed to assisting landlords in making informed decisions amidst this evolving telecommunications terrain.

Matthew Restall

Matthew Restall

Matt Restall, the visionary founder of The Phone Mast Advice Company, is an unrivalled authority in providing expert advice on phone mast rents and contractual terms. With an impressive track record spanning over two decades, Matt has become a revered figure in the industry.