5G: How It Impacts Cell Towers

As the race to build 5G networks accelerates, telecommunication companies are intensifying efforts to get there first and are tackling hurdles head on. Both businesses and consumers are awaiting this technology and most will be willing to pay a premium for early access.  Thus, the carrier that can provide this service first will reap many early benefits.

5G promises incredible changes to both business and personal lives, with major impacts to social and economical structures. In order to to get there though, there will be changes to existing cell towers.

Existing Cell Towers

Telecommunication companies predict an additional 300,000 new cell sites or antennas added within this next year. That’s close to double the existing number of cell tower sites.

Existing cell tower sites will likely remain in place as a base for the networks. They will be retrofitted or updated with new equipment to provide 5G capability.

There will likely be additional cell towers added to more rural and outlying areas as well to improve overall connectivity.

New 5G Sites

New infrastructure is needed to support 5G and it’s not inexpensive. That’s because 5G waves have difficulty traveling over distance and through objects so cell cites must be closer together. Densely populated areas will require more sites to eliminate coverage gaps.   

Smart cities around the country are anxious to work with cell companies, lured by the potential of offering 5G to businesses and residents.  In some cases, legislation is already being passed to increase small cell sites throughout cities. Newer, smaller cell cites in public areas such as lampposts, traffic lights and on top of municipal buildings are being explored by wireless carriers. This legislation, while boosting 5G capability, also limits rebt rates and the ability to regulate installation of these small cells on public property.

Property owners and real estate investors may also be approached for new lease agreements. Certain buildings or structures may be ideal for hosting multiple small cells.

Previously, cell tower companies paid rent to lease the space for towers. This meant that churches, municipalities, and landowners could all negotiate rent rates and some protection for their property. With the new legislation being passed,  fair compensation is compromised and telecommunication companies hold all the power.

With the heightened intensity on 5G, citizens and communities are increasing awareness and expressing concerns over public health, privacy and security.  While interconnected devices may improve and connect the world, the overall impacts remain unknown.