Carriers Making Friends in Low Places
From the very start of the wireless service industry, the carriers sought to build tall towers to broad cast their analog radio signals as far as possible. With few if any users, the carrier sought to cover their licensed areas with as few towers as possible. Carriers even gave their landlords free phones and service as part of their rent payments.
As the 2G digital technologies like CDMA and GSM along with the first smart phones and pda’s began to be deployed, the needs changed to lower antenna installations and more towers to meet the higher capacity needs of texts, pictures and email services. Where towers were not available or allowed, the wireless carrier began to augment cell towers with rooftop connections. The lucky landlords who owned the tallest building in town were the recipients of lucrative leases.
Before digital 2G networks were fully deployed, 3G technologies like EVDO and UMTS arrived and enabled today’s full suite of voice and data devices. Given the large capital investments in towers and rooftops, the carriers deployed new radios and antennas at their existing cell sites – much to the delight of the tower owners and rooftop lessors.
So here we are in the initial stages of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless networks. These wireless networks can best be described as high speed IT networks operating in the air and over microwave and fiber paths. The latest technologies will work best with cell site antennas much lower to the ground. So the evolution will continue from tower to rooftop to…almost anything between 30-40 feet off the ground.
While the tower companies and tall building owners may not appreciate the wireless carriers’ making new landlord friends in lower places, customers will appreciate networks that run faster, better, and more reliably than ever before. Who knows…if you own a building and work with the right people (like SellTower), you may even get in on the wireless rent bonanza.