To boost their network rollout, telco major PLDT Inc. and its wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. are building the country’s first carbon fiber cell site towers on urban rooftops.
According to Mario Tamayo, PLDT and Smart senior vice president and head of technology, the deployment of carbon fiber towers will enhance the telco’s LTE and 5G expansion.
He said that carbon fiber towers are particularly advantageous in metro regions, where the demand for LTE network development and new 5G rollouts necessitates lighter tower solutions capable of serving at full capacity.
According to PLDT, carbon fiber towers are far lighter than steel towers, are easier to transport and construct, are constructed of non-corrosive materials, and require little maintenance.
These towers, according to the operator, are excellent for deployment on rooftops and along coastlines.
Carbon fiber towers are also intended to lower PLDT and Smart’s environmental effect by emitting less CO2 and taking up less land, resulting in more efficient land use.
“Not only would these towers help roll out our network faster and more efficiently, but these also reduce our companies’ environmental impact, as the manufacturing process emits up to 70 percent less carbon dioxide, compared with a steel of comparable strength,” said Meinardo Opiana, Smart’s head of transportation network and support facilities planning and engineering.
“These towers also help our network become more disaster-resilient. Their non-corrosive nature, coupled with their ability to withstand strong winds, makes them ideal for coastal municipalities, where strong typhoons are now more common because of climate change. Their lightweight material, on the other hand, reduces the potential hazards of structural overload for rooftop towers that are already burdened by huge antennas and new tech rollout,” according to Opiana.
Smart recently completed the installation of its first carbon fiber tower in Quezon City.
According to the company, the deployment of carbon fiber towers is part of PLDT’s nationwide network expansion effort.
From Batanes to Tawi-Tawi, Smart’s mobile network has reached 96 percent of the population.
PLDT, on the other side, has the country’s most extensive fiber infrastructure, with over 478,000 kilometers as of end-March.