The wireless infrastructure industry is poised for the next wave of build-outs. We need Small Cells to get to 5G and to help with capacity. This technology will benefit all industries including utilities, manufacturing, public safety, healthcare, and transportation.
We have all heard this for years!
RCR Wireless wrote in April of 2018 – “The Small Cell Forum (SCF) recently released the results of a survey of more than 50 mobile operators who were asked about their deployment plans and business drivers for a dense heterogeneous network (HetNet) and the barriers they expect to have to overcome. Forty percent of the operators expect to deploy between 100 and 350 small cells per square kilometer in areas they densify by 2020. The SCF forecasts that “…between 2015 and 2025, new non-residential small cell deployments will grow at a compound annual rate of 36 percent, to reach almost 8.5 million, and by 2025 deployments will be 22 times higher than in 2015.”
In April of 2018, I helped put together a Small Cell panel for a NATE Pacific Regional Conference in Portland. The panel was made up of colleagues working in site acquisition, for a tower owner and general contractor. These gentlemen have been working around versions of Small Cells for years. I learned a ton from them. I was most interested in learning about their individual challenges concerning permitting, approvals and standardization.
Currently, business is starting to pick up. A&E, Site Acq firms, Compliance and Environmental Consultants are putting it all together. The carriers have been lobbying State and Local Governments successfully over the past few years and as a result, laws and policies are being adopted to establish fees, streamline deployments and still allow local governments to control the design criteria. You hear it from colleagues at Trade Shows and State Association events. Tower Owners, Carriers and Contractors are all ready to integrate and build Small Cells!
So, you ask, where does a sales guy for a steel manufacturer fit in?
Advanced Tower Components, in business for 14 years, is a tower steel components manufacturer with offices in Salem, OR and Kent, WA. We specialize in the design and fabrication of steel components used in wireless infrastructure. Over the last 12 months at Advanced Tower Components we have seen an increase in the demand for Small Cell products.
Customers ranging from manufacturers to integrators to engineering firms to construction managers have reached out for Small Cell solutions. Sometimes the customers know what they need, and other times they leave it up to us to come up with a design. We have worked on foundations, custom poles, mounting solutions for wood and metal poles and complete node and hub build-outs. It is an extremely exciting time!
There are still challenges. Many times, customers do not know what they need, or the municipalities have put restrictions in the “right of way.” Partnerships with municipalities are essential for this technology to be a WIN-WIN truly! It seems like each project has many different configurations – different pole types and different antenna & radio OEMs. We want to design products that are going to be a solution. Is standardization possible? I want forecasts! Ha, a guy can dream.
Diversification is a key to keeping any business growing and relevant. Small Cells are here to stay so get on the wagon, or you may be passed by.
Lee Morreale | Director of Business Development
Advanced Tower Components LLC