DAS is Dead

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85f34f38-3233-40a5-8788-91aaaeff85ffDuring the Contracts Panel at the South Wireless Summit, Alan Tantillo, Director at T-Mobile Towers made a rather surprising comment about Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), “I want to drive a stake in the heart of DAS systems moving forward. They’re not cost efficient and not viable long term. As the Uncarrier and the scrappy carrier, we don’t have the capital to invest and charge down these roads. I’m sure the companies who do have the capital, don’t want to spend it on that because it’s not sustainable into the future.” Is DAS dead? The actual DAS panel earlier in the day didn’t suggest anything along that thinking. Mike Yglesius of Telecom Technology Services, who has DAS systems in over 250 venues, certainly doesn’t think so. “It’s interesting to see the transition between macro sites and DAS. We saw AT&T roll small cells out real aggressively last year, and now they’ve but the breaks on real hard. But I still see a huge need for DAS, and I see it growing,” Yglesius said. Chad Rasmussen of Crown Castle noted that there will be a five times increase in demand of data consumption by 2019. While 5G technology will likely be able to support this demand, the capabilities aren’t there yet, and increasing capacity and expanding networks through spectrum is costly. “They [the carriers] are going to need to expand networks geospatially, leverage existing spectrum, and densify their networks. That’s going to need to occur with small cells. You’re not going to stick a new tower in a heavily populated area. From our perspective, we’re [Crown Castle] heavily invested in the space. It’s not going away, and carriers need to find a way to use what they have to expand network efficiently.” Crown Castle has been installing DAS systems across the county, and undertook a huge project to outfit the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, with 228 DAS antennas before this year’s Super Bowl.

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March 19, 2015 |
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