Carrier mergers and acquisitions vs. ground space

Discussion in 'Design, Development and Standards Discussions' started by Chas Wagner, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Chas  Wagner

    Chas Wagner Industry Observer

    The recent carrier mergers are causing some constructability issues where integrating the radio equipment is concerned. Here in South Florida many of the sites no longer have ground space available and the adjacent properties have none to offer either. I've seen several approaches to getting the previous two carriers (now one) into the same or nearby lease area but many are costly. Add to this the issues that arise with power meters and separate accounts and you have some construction stalls that seem to go away only by throwing money in the hole. It seems that some shelter additions are costing more than a 1989 raw land. Besides using the tenant meters and stacking on platforms is anything else creative and cost effective going on somewhere else?
  2. Bob Hardee

    Bob Hardee Friend of the Community


    I've been retired from the industry for about 6 years, but your question reminded me of a frequent problem that comes with the necessity for collocation, trying to find room in existing sites which were originally leased or purchased for only one carrier.
    In addition to stacking, sometimes it was possible to replace an existing shelter with a larger shelter divided for two providers. Other times it was possible to lease inside space from adjacent buildings. If the tower was not sufficient, the tower was replaced in some cases.
    There are some situations where nothing could be done except look for an alternative site and this created zoning problems.
    It will be interesting to see if your question will generate additional ideas from others still being confronted with the problem which I can only imagine has gotten worse.
    Bob Hardee
    Former acquisition manager
    Crown State of Fla.
  3. Mike Brant

    Mike Brant Guest

    I know in some cases, operators have had to resort to using micro-base stations due to space constraints. This is more of a stop-gap or last resort measure in many cases, as the RF coverage provided and channel capacity may be limited.

    Many operators don't have much of a choice other than doing some of the things you suggest. While it may seem expensive, replacing shelters and similar activities are much cheaper than going out acquiring/building new sites. So it comes down to an issue of more of how much the operators have in their budget. If the site is not critical in terms of coverage or capacity, these sorts of approaches (along with antenna and cable sharing) are viewed as the best cost options.

    Mike Brant
    President, Brant Solutions Group
  4. Bob Hardee

    Bob Hardee Friend of the Community


    As you say, it's cheaper than obtaining a new site, but it is a requirement in many jurisdictions that you must prove that there is no way existing sites can be used for collocation before they will even consider a new site for zoning approval and the requirements for proof are usually very strict.

  5. Mike Brant

    Mike Brant Guest


    Absolutely. Not to mention, the schedule to complete an upgrade at a permitted-use site is oftentimes much shorter than that for building a new site.

    President, Brant Solutions Group
  6. Glen Tenier

    Glen Tenier Industry Observer

    Years back the tower owners were as frugal as possible when building new sites, thinking that it would not be a problem to add an additional lease area to their existing site. Unfortunately, some of the sites are landlocked, or the landlord will not provide additional property. Their capital improvement bottom line philosophy is now backfiring on them. Each site will have to be creative. Some locations will adapt to putting a shelter on top of a supporting frame...that is if the zoning authorities will allow the additional height that may not be hidden by a fence.

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