Transforming aging Telecom Towers into 5G Powerhouses Through Innovative Solutions

Introduction:

Upgrading a legacy tower network in a ‘Just In Time fashion’ in line with customer demand is a core strategy for Towercos and a primary skill of the Delmec team.

In a world driven by connectivity, upgrading and expanding telecom tower infrastructure has become a necessity to enhance investment returns. The challenges of transitioning aging MNO tower assets from operational expenses to capital assets are substantial. In the case of this project, we worked to  revitalise telecom towers by breathing new life into legacy infrastructure for 5G Expansion.

As TowerCos  look to increase the capacity of former MNO owned assets to support multiple MNO tenants, a fresh approach is needed. Delmec’s ingenious strategy ensures maximum asset utilization with a smart capital investment plan. The model hinges on swiftly implementing a tailored design when tenant interest arises.

Challenges Overcome:

Irish tower co’s have grappled with the same obstacles as fellow TowerCos across Europe – a massive deployment of new telecom broadcast equipment for multiple mobile operators onto existing towers. The surge in 5G and 4G densification rollout placed immense capacity demands on an already strained infrastructure network. Compounding the challenge, Ireland’s stringent building permit process necessitates structure sharing due to prolonged planning procedures and public resistance to new infrastructure.

Delmec’s Innovative Solution:

Delmec took a comprehensive approach to address our clients’ challenges, offering three progressive stages of site rectification:

  1. No-Cost/Low-Cost Option: Leveraging a mix of in-house telecoms and structural engineers, Delmec reconfigured active equipment, assessed line of sight (LOS) surveys, and optimized antenna selections to support additional tenants.
  • Mid Option: Focused upgrades bolstered the weakest structure elements to match the capacity of their surroundings, catering to current demands.
  • Future-Proofed Option: Comprehensive upgrades, replacements, or modifications to all tower components ensured the site’s readiness for current and future demands.


Project Outcomes:

Over 50% of the  critical sites in our customers Stage 1 MNO addition project can now accommodate a third tenant with minimal rectification leading to additional revenue of €7,000 per site per annum for costs between €750 and €2,500 per site The balance of the sites were rectified with a mid-cost option costing €5-20k . In total this single tenant addition resulted in a substantial €511k of added annual revenue for our client. With an ROI of sub 12months. This does not allow for any potential revenue from additional capacity over one additional tenant created as part of the works. .  

Delmec’s innovative approach reduced site visits by 62%, minimised steel and concrete costs, and achieved a significant reduction in tenant addition expenses compared to tower replacement.

Our meticulous survey and documentation approach led to improved data management, generating long-term savings through reduced surveys and site visits for current and future works.

With environmental consciousness in mind, our strategy reduced heavy vehicle site visits by 62%, leading to a reduction of 2,020 tonnes of carbon emissions across 73 sites.

Sustainability and Beyond:

Our strategy not only minimised the environmental impact of structural capacity upgrades but also extended the service life of structures through upgrades tailored for future equipment loading. This aligned seamlessly with our customers CSR policies and significantly reduced network outages, ensuring a seamless customer experience.

Conclusion:

Delmec’s innovative approach breathed new life into aging telecom tower infrastructure, enabling TowerCos to boost tenancy ratios, revenue, and environmental sustainability. Through their unique blend of engineering prowess and forward-thinking solutions, Delmec unlocked the potential of legacy infrastructure, proving that with the right strategy, even aging towers can become cutting-edge 5G powerhouses.

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