Comments on Billboard Cellular Antennas

Many readers commented on yesterday’s post on the slow rollout of billboard antennas.

A reader says cell companies are choosing to deploy on utility poles, not billboards.

It’s mainly due to legislation that allows for wireless antenna’s to go on utility poles or separate stand-alone polls in the ROW.  Legislation that I believe passed in Florida and several other states limits price to $150 per year per pole. Also utility companies are starting to get into the business as well and their polls have obvious advantages with locations and mass scale.Lastly in Florida, many jurisdictions do not allow for the co-location on billboards for various reasons.

Another reader is worried about RF exposure

Some of the challenges that we have faces with cellular antennas are as follows:

  1. In regards to large cell or macro sites, exposure of our employees to RF frequencies is a challenge. Although the exposure to the levels of RF are relatively low, extra precautions are needed such as RF training and the use of RF meters. They say the RF frequencies that are emitted are only dangerous if you are directly in front of the antenna however the cellular operator will install stickers on the structure that warn employees that RF monitoring equipment is required.
  2. In a market where cellular antennas are widely deployed, the carriers do not want to pay very much for a large cell cellular site. I know people may think ” whats it matter, its free revenue” but is it really free? For instance, if you allow cellular on a structure that you may want to convert to digital you have to ask yourself is the cellular revenue worth it… If you need to rebuild the structure to handle the weight of a digital, most cellular contracts require you to pay them for the antennas downtime and to relocate the equipment. After having to pay for the relocation and downtime, did you make any money?
  3. Large cell sites or macro sites can pay a significant amount of money in a metro market. I have seen sites pay $1,000-$3,000 per month and that is indeed a pretty good amount of money. These large cell sites are the sites that contain 4-10 antennas that are like the large antennas in the photo you posted.

The way I understand 5G and the way it works is that , the carriers don’t need as many of the large cell sites. 5G works by deploying significantly more antennas that are smaller and more powerful to act like repeaters. These are called small cell sites.The highest lease rentals I have seen for small cell sites is about $200 a month. With these leases, the cell antennas are connected to the billboards electricity.  At $200 a month, it really comes down to risk vs reward.

A reader says advertisers may not like antennas distracting from the ad.

The cell equipment is an eyesore, especially with multiple units growing up and down from ad copy. Maybe some brands don’t care, but the premium advertisers do/ should care.

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