In talking to many telecoms industry experts, attending conferences and reviewing articles written on 5G roll-out, I believe the industry has formed the following view of 5G roll-out and its effect on existing infrastructure. This view being, the 5G equipment will be positioned on infill street furniture type installations and this will require new small cell and street furniture type sites.
I believe this is true, and that the vast majority of 5G sites will eventually be of this nature.
But what this view neglects to consider is that 5G equipment will also be positioned on existing telecoms infrastructure. And that the vast majority of initial 5G sites will be co-located on existing telecoms infrastructure.
My experience of 5G roll-outs I have been involved in to date is that 5G equipment is currently being positioned on the existing telecoms infrastructure, and infill and street furniture type installs are programmed to happen afterwards or at best in parallel.
So what does this mean? For one, it means huge additional loading on existing infrastructure. This is exacerbated by the fact that current 5G equipment is big with extensive load. Also in most telecoms infrastructure portfolios there is insufficient capacity on the existing infrastructure to carry this additional load.
As an industry we need to be aware of this and plan for this in our 5G roll-outs. When roll- outs start, this issue is an immediate impediment to progress. A lot of work can be carried out in advance to get a view on the actual capacity of a specific site or tower and solutions developed for this future loading, and thus make the process more seamless and efficient.