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Inside Towers
Wednesday, November 23, 2016     Happy Thanksgiving! Volume 4  | Issue 230
A notification yesterday from NATE stated that 3M Fall Protection (formerly Capital Safety) has identified a limited number of Lad-Saf X2/X3 sleeves with the locking lever not working properly. This condition can allow the sleeve to disengage from the cable during use. The assembly error is believed to affect only a limited number of units and has been corrected. There have been no accidents or injuries related to this issue.

NATE encourages all member companies and industry stakeholders to consult the Inspection Notice for more details.
Arizona-Based Tower Company Sees Opportunity in Spectrum Repack
Business has been so good for tower manufacturers and erectors, International Towers Inc. is building a new headquarters in Tucson, reports International Towers (ITI) saw a period of tremendous growth during the conversion to digital TV in the late 1990s, as it worked on a national level to upgrade infrastructure.

ITI vice president Ed Marue expects growth to come from high-speed wireless providers who will use the former television spectrum to build out their wireless networks. “The internet has just taken over, and they’ve run out of spectrum,” said Marue, who helped found the company in 1996, in an interview with  

In preparation for the expansion fueled by the spectrum repack, International Towers President Doug Gratzer said the company has partnered with wireless equipment provider RFS to offer turnkey systems to operators. “The actual transition is going to start in late 2017, so this is going to be a big part of our expansion going forward,” said Gratzer. The new headquarters is being built on the Marana Technology Campus in Southern Arizona.

In addition to wireless providers, ITI is involved with surveillance technologies and invisible fencing solutions along the U.S.-Mexico border and was the main contractor on a large-scale public safety project in Pima County.  
Small Cell Forecast Predicts ‘Healthy’ CAGR Through 2021
ABI Research’s latest study dubbed the “Outdoor Small Cell Forecast” is out and shows outdoor small cells will have a “healthy” 38 percent CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) through 2021, as reported on by YAHOO Finance.

LTE small cells are the fastest growing small cell type in 2016, thanks to venue and dense urban deployments. The research study also predicts that LTE small cells will double by the end of the year and each year after Mobile Network Operators “put in place the framework for 5G deployments.” YAHOO reports that by 2021, the value of LTE small cells will amount to almost 70 percent of the entire equipment market.

MNOs are finding that deploying small cells is an effective way to boost network capacity in both urban and suburban markets with high traffic. 

"MNOs on every continent, such as China Mobile, Verizon, and Vodafone, among others, are now investing in network densification," Nick Marshall, Research Director at ABI Research, told YAHOO Finance. ”The results of this can be seen in the ramp of small cells this year."

The research study also predicted that LTE’s growing networks and 4G deployments in the Asia-Pacific region will represent almost half of the worldwide small cell equipment market by 2021.
United Kingdom
British Telecom Denied Bid for More Spectrum, It Only Owns 45 Percent of It
Only Three, O2 and Vodafone can bid for 2.3GHz spectrum in the next U.K. mobile auction, according to the Highbury Clock. U.K. telecoms regulator Ofcom is on the record saying that BT/EE can’t bid in next year’s auction because “it already owns 45 percent of useable U.K. mobile spectrum.”

EE boss Marc Allera, in response to Ofcom's 4G spectrum ban on the telecom giant, said in a statement to Ars Technica: "While we don't agree that competition measures should be introduced for this auction, we will now examine Ofcom's detailed proposal carefully and respond to the consultation.”

Highbury Clock reported that the upcoming auction, which Ofcom has capped at 255MHz of new spectrum for all bidders, “will help meet mobile broadband demand and future 5G mobile.” Ofcom said the 3.4GHz band is central to the rollout of 5G across Europe. The 2.3GHz spectrum will be available to England, Scotland and Wales, but not in Northern Ireland. The 3.4GHz spectrum will be available to all of the U.K. Continue Reading
Nokia, Arab Emirates Developing Drone Management System
Nokia has been testing drones for use in cell tower maintenance. Now, the carrier is partnering with the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to develop an end-to-end ecosystem to allow businesses and government agencies in that country to operate drones in what both say will be a safe, secure and managed environment.

The project is part of an initiative by the GCAA to make Dubai one of the world’s smartest cities in 2017, and will allow Dubai government security network operator Nedaa to develop a next-generation network for mission-critical and smart city services within the GCAA regulatory framework, Nokia and the GCAA announced.

At the heart of the ecosystem is Nokia’s drone Traffic Management concept; it’s being developed to manage the devices in and around cities, and coordinate their actions with people, manned aircraft and connected devices. Continue Reading

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November 22, 2016 at Close

Planning Commission Approves Helpful “Monstrosity” in Culpeper County
Advancing technology and quality of life clashed with concerns over spoiling the natural landscape at a special Culpeper County Planning Commission meeting on November 21. At stake was the proposal for the first cell tower in Boston, VA. The commission voted to recommend approval of Community Wireless Structures’ proposal for a 199-foot lattice tower located on a wooded 10-acre parcel close to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The original request called for a 250-foot tower, but citizens’ concerns over the lighting and height of the tower caused it to be shortened. As a result, an estimated 15 percent of nearby residents will lose wireless coverage, according to the Culpeper Star Exponent. Residents supported the taller tower with nearly 60 letters addressed to the planning commission, but the group was swayed to acquiesce in part to opponents. They pressured commissioners under the pretense that nearby Rappahannock County “would never allow a monstrosity like this.”

Hope McCreary of Community Wireless Structures was disappointed with the changes. She said, “The changes are subtle but significant. We will still serve a lot of people. It’s about compromising for everyone’s interests.” The Culpeper County Board of Supervisors will hold a final vote on the tower application during its meeting on December 6.
North Canton Proposes New Tower Regulations to Stop “Tricky” Developers
A proposal for two 120-foot cell towers in New Canton raised the suspicions of local city council members. The proposal was submitted by a California-based developer, and was discussed at a special council meeting on November 21. According to one councilman, Dominic Fonte, categorizing cell towers as a utility enable developers to "come into little towns and cities” and “trick us" into awarding them permits.  

The Canton Repository indicates Fonte is behind the attempt to pass more zoning regulations against cell towers. If his proposals are passed, towers must conform to height restrictions, and blend with the landscape. Although Fonte was adamant in regards to restricting developers who lease towers to wireless carriers, he suggested the city could hold more control over where the structures were placed if it decided to develop its own tower sites for lease.

No immediate changes can be made to the city’s zoning code. Councilwoman Marcia Kiesling indicated the process could take up to six months to complete. For now, the city is checking with legal advisers to see how to prevent, or stall tower construction.


The History of the Indonesian Tower Industry
An examination of the Indonesian tower market and how the country’s towercos enabled telecoms growth in one of Asia’s most populous countries
Indonesia’s tower industry is one of the world’s most mature and strongest, combining efficient organic growth, strong MNO partnerships yielding substantial sale and leasebacks, and towerco-on-towerco consolidation. Towercos own almost two thirds of Indonesia’s towers, and other than China, there are no other markets that build 3,000 to 5,000 towers, rooftops and infill sites per year while delivering solid tenancy ratio and TCF (tower cash flow) growth.

The Indonesian tower market has come a long way; in the early 2000s, Indonesia was overpopulated with MNOs sub-optimally deploying capex to build parallel infrastructure. However, all of that was about to change. A 2006 regulatory policy change enforced tower sharing and laid the foundation for the Indonesian tower industry. Now Indonesia is the world’s #4 mobile market, with a thriving tower industry. Indonesian towercos own 64% of the country’s 85,537 towers, which serve a more sustainably structured operator market led by four tier one MNOs and three further challengers. Continue Reading 

T-Mobile’s LTE Mini-Tower “CellSpot” Update Will Extend Inside Range
Nokia is developing a wideband update for T-Mobile’s 4G CellSpot, which enables voice and data coverage in homes and businesses which previously had poor coverage. T-Mobile describes CellSpot as an “LTE mini-tower — with low power settings for indoor use,” and says the device provides an average of 3,000 square feet of coverage for homes, small businesses or other areas.

When the device debuted last November, the carrier said CellSpot requires only a two megabit-per-second internet connection to uplink to T-Mobile’s network. The device also provides up to 60 mbps download speed.

At the time, the small cell provided the fastest way a T-Mobile customer could get internet service; Now, with Wideband LTE up to 20MHz deployed in some T-Mobile markets, some CellSpot customers aren’t getting the fast speeds at home they are outside the home, according to AndroidHeadlines.

CellSpot’s maximum range was set at 10 MHz spectrum range at launch; however Nokia told one user it’s working on an update to enable the device to reach up to 20 MHz of LTE frequency range in supported markets.

The update should be released at year-end or early next year, according to the account; Nokia has not commented on the issue.   

NATE Meets with Small Business Administration in Labor Safety Roundtable
On November 18, Jim Goldwater of Bob Lawrence & Associates, representing the National Association of Tower Erectors at the Small Business Administration Labor Safety Roundtable, reiterated NATE’s call for OSHA to quickly review and embrace the national consensus tower standards that were recently adopted by key industry organizations after six years of development, according to NATE Executive Director Todd Schlekeway.

After providing a short history of the relationship between NATE and OSHA, Goldwater discussed the ANSI/ASSE A10.48 Standard and the ANSI/TIA-322 Standard.  In addition to expressing NATE’s strong desire to be an active participant in any effort by OSHA to revise existing tower safety rules, he indicated that the new consensus standards should substantially facilitate tower safety while easing the agency’s regulatory burden.  Goldwater also circulated the position paper NATE officials provided to congressional offices as well as OSHA and the Federal Communications Commission.  

Bruce Lundegren, Assistant Chief Counsel in SBA’s Office of Advocacy, then noted that the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1996 states, in part, that federal agencies and departments shall use technical standards developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies if compliance would not be inconsistent with applicable law, Schlekeway said.
Niki Misses Her Mark

Verizon called out T-Mobile yesterday because even though T-Mobile’s star personality Nicki Minaj is featured in their ads, a selfie she posted suggests that she uses Verizon. Uh oh.  


DAS and small cells are an incredibly hot industry topic and as a result, we’ve been building up our database of companies within the category. Confirm that your company is listed and if you have a basic listing, be sure to enhance it for extra exposure. Click here to find your company and email us if you have any questions.
HPC Wireless Services – Electrician

HPC Wireless Services is looking for a licensed and experienced Electrician to join our Team of Telecommunications Professionals in the following areas: Upstate New York, Metro NY and New England. Click here for more information. 

Please have a happy and safe holiday weekend.

Issues of Inside Towers will resume on Monday 11/28.
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