February 2, 2015

Structural Engineering: Benefits of Tower Co-Location

Co-location services today are critical to support the explosive data growth and the need for high-bandwidth, low latency connectivity to wireless networks. Over the last few years, many carriers are moving from building and owning new towers to selling off the vertical infrastructure and becoming a tenant. In addition to this change in infrastructure, ownership is a huge push to co-locate on existing towers rather than incurring the expense of building new towers.

Tower companies typically own or lease a tower structure under a long term contract. Wireless tenants typically own and operate the equipment and sometimes lease the vertical space on the tower and portions of the land underneath for their equipment – called co-location. “Co-location” refers to a single structure which is used to support multiple antennas operated by different carriers. Cell tower co-location is the use of one structure to mount or deploy mobile telecommunications antennas belonging to more than one wireless service provider within a single location.

A few factors are changing the tower co-location scenery:

• The push to deploy new technology on existing sites, for example LTE
• The need for added radio capacity forcing radios to be located as close to the antennas as possible
• Remote Radio Heads
• DC & Fiber from the ground equipment to the tower equipment
• Increased weight and wind loading

All of these factors are having a drastic impact on the tower industry and the result is often that towers, when reviewed to accommodate these changes, are often over-stressed and therefore require structural reinforcement. This reinforcement often affects the tower steel and the foundation.

When reviewing a tower to accommodate these additional equipment loads, it is essential that you work with an engineering company that understands the appropriate codes, loading factors and how these factors are applied within the finite element design software.

Wondering which telecom tower will best suit your project? We explore a variety of types in our blog, Different Types of Telecom Towers: Which Design is Right for Your Site?

KMB has a proven track record of working to maximize your vertical real-estate to ensure that owners can achieve their rental income goals and carriers can meet their deployment and coverage objectives.


KMB is a leading provider of Design & Build tower modifications and reinforcement services. We combine expert structural engineering services with our fabrication and construction services to maximize the structural capacity of our clients’ vertical real-estate. Our tower crews are very experienced at installing lines and antennas on all types of existing structures. We are a member of NATE and take pride in the professional level of service our tower crews provide across the nation.