Lantern or advertising pillar: mobile operators are testing new antenna locations

5G should significantly improve Internet use on the go. The expansion of the network operators is in full swing, but what to do with all the necessary antennas?

 Lantern or advertising pillar: Mobile operators are testing new antenna locations

When expanding their mobile network the telecommunications company Vodafone uses advertising columns as antenna locations. The company put the first such radio system into operation on Thursday in Düsseldorf, with 150 more to follow. This will take us further towards the goal of nationwide 5G coverage, said the head of technology at Vodafone Germany, Gerhard Mack, at the inauguration. He hopes that the model project will catch on and be transferred to other cities. The three small antennas with a range of around 400 meters are hidden under a gray lightweight dome that is on the advertising column.

The background is the fact that the range in 5G in high frequencies is significantly lower than with 4G – this means that telecommunications companies need many more locations for their 5G network. All three German network operators are desperately looking for places where they can install their 5G radio cells. The search for suitable antenna locations is difficult, said Vodafone -Manager Mack. “We’re getting a lot of resistance there, many homeowners no longer want to rent out their roof space because they’re afraid that the tenants will then cause stress.”

Telekom is already using advertising columns for 4G

With the advertising pillars, Vodafone is now taking an unusual approach. However, the idea is not entirely new: Telekom is already using 200 advertising pillars in Berlin as locations for antennas, but in 4G. The project, which started in March, is going well, according to a Telekom spokesman. In 2022, Telekom advertising pillars could also transmit in the 5G standard.

Street lamps are also coming into focus. Telefónica has been transmitting in 5G from a street lamp in Frankfurt am Main since July. If the pilot project is successful, they want to use more lanterns, says a Telefónica spokesman. Vodafone, in turn, also uses some lanterns for 5G, these are in Düsseldorf.

Lanterns and advertising pillars allow distance

An advantage of lanterns and advertising pillars: the minimum distance to people due to radiation exposure can be good be respected. But couldn’t the locations still raise concerns among citizens? Vodafone technical director Mack emphasized: “In Germany we have the strictest regulations and laws on the subject of signal-to-noise ratio – and they are all observed.”

Düsseldorf’s Lord Mayor Stephan Keller (CDU) said: “The site certification from the Federal Network Agency has taken adequate account of radiation concerns.” You have to live with a dense antenna network if you want 5G – “and that’s what we want”.

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