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Mobile Phone Tower Types and Information

A mobile phone tower consists of multiple parts, most of which are owned by different companies. Typically a mobile phone tower is built either by a tower company or a wireless carrier looking to expand their network coverage and/or capacity.

Many inquiries that we receive actually confuse a tower with the antennae that are placed on a rooftop. "We have two towers on our roof". What they mean to say is that we have two sets of antennae on our roof.

A mobile phone tower consists of the following parts:

  1. The Tower - There are four different types of towers.
    • Lattice Tower - also referred to as a self-supporting tower the lattice tower affords the greatest flexibility and is often used in heavy loading conditions. A lattice tower is typically three or four sided, with similar shaped bases.

    • Monopole Tower - A monopole tower is a single steel or concrete tube tower. It requires one foundation and typically don't exceed 50 metres. The antennas are mounted on the exterior of the tower.

    • Guyed Tower/Mast - Guyed towers used to be the cheapest tower to construct, but require the greatest amount of land. For taller heights (100 metres and greater) it is much cheaper to build a guyed tower. Most radio and television towers are guyed towers. A guyed tower is a straight tower (also referred to as mast) connected by guy wires attached to the ground in all directions, which anchor and support the tower.

    • Stealth Tower - Stealth towers are typically required by councils and at times, owners. They are always more expensive than the other types of towers. More often than not they require additional material to "Stealth" their appearance and typically don't provide the same amount of capacity for tenants. Below is an example of a stealth tower we have seen, located in Queensland.

  2. The Equipment - Each of the tenants who mount their antennae on the mobile phone tower uses transceivers and supporting equipment installed in cabinets or in shelters. Different wireless carriers use different means of protecting their equipment. Many place outdoor cabinets on concrete pads, while others use prefabricated equipment shelters. This equipment is also called the "Base Transceiver Station" or "BTS".

  3. The Antennas - Each carrier will typically use multiple antennas on the tower, and also typically mount them on a head frame attached to the tower. Sometimes there are as few as three antennas, sometimes as many as fifteen antennas per carrier. Numbers of antennas are dependent on the technology, antenna performance, coverage and capacity required.

  4. Utilities - Virtually every mobile phone tower site has utilities installed at the site for use by the carriers. Typically each initial carrier has power run to the site as well as phone service. Depending on the carrier, the transmission requirement (communication with other wireless sites) may be handled by fibre run to the site as well
  5. Access - Each site will require access by the carriers, both for the initial installation and ongoing maintenance/repair activities. These arrangements may require a separate track to the mobile tower site.

As you can see, "mobile tower" refers to the actual tower structure. In rare cases, there are actually towers installed on the top of roofs which in turn have antennas installed on them. Most of the time, antennas are simply attached directly to the roof either by roof mounts, rails or platforms that are installed on top of the roof.

Please see our webpage on getting a mobile phone tower on your property.

Check here if you have been approached to lease your land for a mobile phone tower.

If you are looking for information on siting and building a tower- please see Building A Mobile Phone Tower.