US operators appeared set to gain access to potentially thousands of new sites for 5G in one of the country’s largest markets, after regulators in New York City authorised ten infrastructure providers to install kit on city-owned traffic and street lights.
The agreements with companies including Crown Castle, ExteNet Systems, Transit Wireless and ZenFi Networks also include the option to mount 4G and 5G equipment on bus shelters, public toilets and information kiosks. The deals cover a ten year period.
Previous deals focused on 3G and 4G deployments resulted in installations on nearly 6,000 poles, city officials said.
The news comes as operators continue to spar with municipalities and utility companies across the country over small cell siting.
Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai recently highlighted the issue as a key roadblock to widespread 5G deployments.
US operators are particularly reliant on small cells for 5G deployments due to the country’s focus on mmWave spectrum, which offers massive capacity, but has an extremely limited reach.
Industry group CTIA previously tipped the number of US small cells to skyrocket from around 86,000 in 2018 to more than 800,000 by 2026 as operators densify their networks for 5G.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back