Will 5G Replace Cell Towers?

right arrow Back to articles list

Will 5G Replace Cell Towers?

date 03 Jan 2024
5G Cell Towers

 Surprisingly, the future of cell towers isn’t solely about fancy radio tech, it’s all about frequencies! Forget complicated protocols; it’s the distance between these towers and your devices that shapes their importance. learn more about the real story behind 5G and cell towers!

In rural areas, network providers still utilize tower layouts reminiscent of earlier analog days, such as 1G and 2G. These areas rely on low-frequency radio towers, often operating at 800MHz or 850MHz (North America) during the 2G/3G era. The 800MHz band was exclusive to Nextel/Sprint, while 850MHz had only two carrier slots, later owned by Verizon and AT&T.


With the evolution of technology, the introduction of mid-band frequencies like 1900MHz, 1700MHz, and 2100MHz occurred. However, mid-band coverage faced limitations such as increased tower requirements for networks like Sprint and T-Mobile, as mid-band radio signals are obstructed by foliage, affecting their range.


The arrival of 4G introduced the 700MHz band, enhancing rural coverage for T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T in various areas. Additionally, the innovation of License Assisted Access (LAA) in 4G protocols allowed cell towers to utilize less active frequency bands like 5GHz and 6GHz for improved performance.


Currently, 5G-NR protocols share some 4G radio frequencies, initially causing 5G to be slower than 4G in certain areas due to the lack of LAA support. However, with the sunset of 3G networks, companies are gradually integrating 5G as a replacement, promising better performance.


T-Mobile holds advantages in 5G with the exclusive use of the 600MHz radio band in most regions and the acquisition of Sprint's 2500MHz mid-band. However, these advantages do not significantly impact existing tower arrangements.



With 5G, high-band frequencies (24–48GHz) promise significant speeds but have a limited range, suitable mainly for urban areas. This necessitates additional towers for full coverage, especially in suburban and rural regions where existing towers are insufficient for high-band radio.


Suburban areas might receive high-band coverage through small cells, similar to public Wi-Fi, while existing towers continue to support mid-band and low-band communications. Interestingly, one of the noteworthy aspects of 5G is its support for ultra-low latency modes, tailored for Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications, despite not solely focusing on high speeds.


The belief that 5G will eliminate cell towers is unfounded. Instead, the role of cell towers is determined by frequencies, not radio protocols. In rural areas, networks still rely on older tower layouts with low-frequency radio towers, while mid-band frequencies and innovations like License Assisted Access (LAA) have enhanced coverage in various bands.



While T-Mobile holds advantages in certain frequency bands for 5G, the impact on existing tower arrangements is minimal. Suburban areas might witness high-band coverage via small cells, akin to public Wi-Fi, while existing towers support mid-band and low-band communications. Interestingly, 5G's advancements include ultra-low latency modes, designed for Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications, emphasizing more than just high-speed connectivity.

The evolution of 5G will likely see diverse tower utilization, leveraging different frequency bands to cater to varying coverage needs across rural, suburban, and urban areas.

facebook linkedin twitter
Will 5G Replace Cell Towers?
Conquering Connectivity: Understanding Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 7 Differences's image
avx-news 24 Jun 2024
Conquering Connectivity: Understanding Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 7 Differences

Conquering Connectivity: Understanding Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 7 DifferencesIn our hyper-connect

Telecom Wi-fi Routers

Copyright @ 2024 avxav. All rights reserved.