Today’s Wireless Communications Infrastructure Struggles to Support Cities and Communities
5G performance requires each mobile network operator (MNO) to operate both a macro network that provides minimum coverage over a large area, and a small cell that addresses growing data capacity needs at the macro ‘cell edge’. If every MNO densifies the cell edge by building discrete and overlapping small cell networks, the result will be overloaded infrastructure, burdensome capital expenditure, and overlooked neighborhoods, creating a disconnect across enterprise, healthcare, and educational services, and widening the digital divide between well-served and underserved communities.
Many traditionally underserved communities experience limited connectivity. Network enhancements at the cell edge happen only where it is economical for individual MNOs to do so, resulting in a decline in market competition and city services. The time and cost to access city assets needed for small cell networks creates deployment barriers, leaving some areas underutilized while others are overbuilt.
5G networks promise enhanced, pervasive connectivity to support new uses and business opportunities, yet MNOs must make trade-offs in their cell edge deployments. MNOs lack incentive to develop their own expensive and time-consuming ubiquitous, dense networks, leading to unequal outcomes. Without cities and communities engaged as partners, getting access to the necessary poles and other assets is difficult, further slowing down 5G deployment and risking leaving entire neighborhoods behind.
Pervasive, secure 5G mobile networks enable new business use cases, from IoT applications to private networking. Across cities, however, commercial real estate, hospitality, educational, and healthcare facilities lack adequate network coverage or capacity, severely limiting users’ mobile connection experiences. Property owners must invest in mobile connectivity to remain competitive, and cities must empower operators to efficiently invest in unserved and underserved locations.