Telecom Towers-Pillars of the communication revolution

Mr. Watson–come here–I want to see you.” is a statement from Sir Alexander Graham Bell known to all of us. But, did you know that at around the same time he mentioned to his father in a letter about a time in future when friends could talk without stepping out? This was right after the first telephone call in the world back on 10th March, 1876. Well, Bell was right. From wired phones with high charges per ‘pulse’ to ‘unlimited’ free calls on wi-fi, a lot has happened. Future generations might find it hard to believe that having a telephone was once a matter of high social esteem. In this blog we will look at how telecom towers have changed the world in the 21st century and their growing prospects.

Contents:

The first incredible wireless call
Connecting worlds by video
Factors driving the change
Clearing myths and thinking about the future

The first incredible wireless call

Although telecommunication began as the electrical telegraph of 1838 the first wireless telephone call was made only on 3rd April 1973 when Motorola engineer Martin Cooper claims to have made his first wireless phone call to his counterpart Joel Engel of AT&T. The purpose was to inform Joel that Martin and his team had developed the world’s first wireless phone, much to the latter’s disbelief. Japan became the first country to have a commercially automated cellular network in 1981.

Connecting worlds by video

A merchant navy officer was somewhere in the Pacific ocean while his wife was eight months pregnant. He had a leave sanctioned for next month. Due to an emergency his wife had an early delivery but he still managed to be with her in those moments through video call. Well, we can’t deny the fact how the impact of telecom tower technology has untangled our lives. There are innumerous relatable examples from our everyday lives itself. Telecom towers are the unsung heroes. While we all appreciate the technology of 4G & 5G, we miss out on crediting telecom towers. Telecom towers in the 21st century carry a lot of load – voice, data, visuals, files and almost any kind of information. When Blackberry introduced mailboxes and web browsers on phones for the companies a new era began for telecom towers. Giants like Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google carried the revolution forward by unlocking the hunger for data. The world accepted smartphones with open arms. Phones would talk to you, schedule appointments, take commands, help you at work, and become play companions. You could see your friends from anywhere on Hangouts or Whatsapp. The data boom fuelled demand for wider, faster, more reliable networks – and naturally more towers. The impact of telecom tower technology in the pandemic was profound as it ensured that we didn’t step out. They got us groceries and medicines. They got us entertainment and food. They got us the active case figures in our vicinity and the knowledge of our family being safe. It’s not an understatement that telecom towers have done a lot for us. What started as wireless calling now gets us real-time updates of our oxygen cylinders and plasma donors in our city.

Here are the major reasons behind the rapid transformation of telecom towers:

Expanding demand for mobile data

Global total mobile data traffic has been estimated to take a jump from around 51 EB (exabyte) per month in 2020 to 226 EB per month in 2026 according to a report by Ericsson. Mobiles go everywhere we go. Whether for business or entertainment, we need it even while we travel. To give us wider coverage, we need a better network.

Consumers asking more for less

A free-market brings competition. This competition has benefited mankind with cheaper data plans for both phone and computer. They are expecting more for less and they can’t be denied because that’s lethal. Is Reliance Jio’s unlimited data offer for users for more than a year ringing some bells?

Increasing load for networks

The burgeoning dependency on data has imposed huge loads on telecom network and scarce spectrum resources. To manage this load efficiently a tandem between macro towers and small cells is necessary. While macro towers are the gigantic telecom towers we see around at far-flung gaps, small cells are the miniature version of it placed locally in high-demand areas. Many small cells receive from and transmit signals to one another as well as the macro tower for efficient connectivity. It’s a relay mechanism termed as back-haul. This relay may be achieved using both wireless signals and fiber optic lines. Had there been no such mechanism the hunt for specific corners around us for network availability would still be there like in old times when towers were few in number.

Smart cities and internet of things

Alexa speaking Bhojpuri and Kannnad, MG Hector operating through voice commands, application to see the next bus to a destination, filing complaints for civic issues from phone, smart homes where lighting changes from an app or a voice command, ‘Internet of Things’ is not just the future, it’s becoming our present now. The world is moving towards smart homes and smart cities and ‘internet connection’ has to be there for it.

Wi-fi as the new family member

A relatable fact. We never realized the importance of good Wi-Fi before work from home became the ‘new normal’. Under such conditions, the demand and expectations have soared high.

5G is on

If Flash saved the world in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, 5G will be that Flash for the real world. More than 30 percent of the world’s nations have 5G availability now. It’s self-explanatory that there can be no 5G without telecom tower construction that’s advanced.

Clearing myths and thinking about the future

With popularity come myths. So let’s bust them. Telecom radiations are considered to be cancerous. As a matter of fact, there are two types of electromagnetic radiations – ionizing and non-ionizing. Telecom towers use the latter which is non-cancerous. In fact the World Health Organization has denied non-ionizing being cancerous. Impact of telecom towers in India can never aid ill-health because legally set levels of radiation allowed for cellular infrastructure is one tenth of the global standards. As far as the future is concerned, telecom towers will embrace more revolutions. They might become smaller in size and wider in coverage and much more. Fibre optics has already heightened the standards. The number of towers grew more than twice to 6,06,300 at a CAGR of 7.1% between 2007 and 2020 in India. The ability of Indian marketers to find the right marketing mix based on the costing and deliverables have made India the second largest internet consumer in the world despite having 65.53% population living in villages. With a large population to target, holding on to customers has become extremely competitive. So much that telecom tower construction is acted upon on an immediate basis even by a few customer complaints from a specific area. No wonder, the impact of telecom towers in the 21st century is as big as a mountain.