With small cells, there is an ongoing controversy about the cost of the small cell infrastructure vs. the aesthetic impact of the pole. There tends to be an inverse relationship between the aesthetic appearance of the pole and the cost- meaning better-looking poles cost more and vice versa. The issue is that not all small cell installations require a highly aesthetic pole especially those that aren’t in the public view or are in areas where there is no permitting. In these areas, wireless providers are seeking to build as cheap a small cell pole as possible without consideration of the aesthetics.
To address those needs, Hemphill (a manufacturer of all types of towers and whom we have to disclose is a long term client of ours on the tower brokerage side) has designed this specific small cell pole they call a “Micro-Site” with this market in mind. Here is how they describe it: “Micro-Sites are 20′, 4″ steel tube hinged towers on no dig pre-cast ballast foundations. Foundations can be placed on a level surface with a skid steer tractor. Installation is a very quick process. The tower’s hinged base makes antenna maintenance easy and safe.”
We could see this being used in rural areas, on private property, or in areas where there is no permitting. We could also envision fleets of these being deployed like COLTs or COWs. Hemphill will need to come up with a fancy acronym for this. Here is a photo showing the pole bending over for maintenance purposes.
Here is another photo showing a carrier’s test equipment adjacent to the pole.