417K U.S. Cell Tower Sites as of 2020; Projected 35.7 Million “Radio Units” (5G/4G Small Cells, DAS, DRS) to be Deployed by 2026

By B.N. Frank

American opposition to cell towers near homes, schools and firefighter stations has been ongoing for many years.  U.S. opposition to 4G and 5G small cells continues to increase due to concerns about reduced property value (see 1, 2, 3), public safety (see  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), health (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), cybersecurity (see 1, 2), privacy (see 1, 2), and environmental risks (see 1, 2, 3, 4).  Some have described 5G deployment as a form of “environmental racism”.

Despite all of the above, tens of millions more wireless-radiation emitting infrastructure units are planned.

From Fierce Wireless:

U.S. counts more than 417K cell sites as of 2020

In CTIA’s latest survey, the group said investment in wireless networks reached a five-year high in 2020, with $29.9 billion in capital spending.  The U.S. mobile industry accounted for 18% of the world’s total mobile capex last year, but only 5.9% of global mobile connections.

Mobile traffic also increased in 2020, to 42.2 trillion megabytes – a 208% increase since 2016.

This year AT&T and Verizon are preparing to deploy C-band spectrum for 5G in the U.S. when it’s ready, expected to be in December.  and T-Mobile continues to roll out mid-band 2.5 GHz. While small cells were a major focus for deploying millimeter wave, macro sites have been pegged as the most efficient way to deploy mid-band.

Verizon expects to deploy between 7,000 and 8,000 new sites for C-band this year.

In reporting second-quarter earnings last week, tower company Crown Castle cut projections for small cell deployments for 2021 and 2022, decreasing to 5,000 from the previously expected 10,000 each year. Company executives said it wasn’t due to a lack of demand, but in part because macro sites are again being prioritized by carriers. Crown Castle said cancelled Sprint small cell orders and continued zoning and permitting challenges also impacted the outlook.

A July market forecast from the Small Cell Forum noted slightly slower deployment of small cells globally than anticipated a year ago for the 2020-2022 period. The Covid-19 pandemic increased the need for mobile infrastructure, helping to drive increased investment starting later in 2022, according to the report.

RELATED: T-Mobile has ‘too many’ small cells, Ray says

“However, in 2020 and 2021 this was offset, in the outdoor environment, by disruption to labor and site access because of lockdowns, and in the enterprise, by delays to workplace upgrades as a result of work-from-home policies,” the report stated. It expects a strong recovery in 2022 driven by 5G upgrades.

By 2026, the report projects the industry will have cumulatively deployed 35.7 million radio units, around 10% higher than its previously forecast. The Small Cell Forum report said small cells are counted in radio units – which can be integrated small cells or remote radio units. It also includes distributed antenna systems (DAS) and distributed radio systems (DRS), with residential femtocells and Wi-Fi only networks excluded.

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Opposition to 5G is worldwide.  Cities and entire countries have taken action to ban, delay, halt, and limit installation AS WELL AS issue moratoriums.  The majority of scientists oppose deployment.

In May, scientists submitted a letter to President Biden asking him to protect the public from 5G and other unsafe technology.  Americans opposed to 5G may click here to sign a letter asking the Biden administration to stop deployment immediately.

Activist Post reports regularly about the FCC and unsafe technology.  For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:

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