Vodafone, Orange, and Movistar want to cause as little visual pollution as possible with their 5G facility (5th generation wireless systems). They, therefore, opt for camouflaged cell towers that should not stand out in their surroundings.
For example, Vodafone recently replaced a traditional mobile phone mast in Ciutadella (Menorca) on the roof of an apartment complex. Instead, a cylindrical model was installed in which the panels were mounted invisibly on the inside of the cylinder.
Hiding breeds suspicion
However, the effect of the new cell tower on these residents was exactly the opposite of what was intended. The new white cylinder had just caught the attention of the residents and caused quite a bit of controversy. Because they wondered, why would telecom companies want to hide their antennas from the public eye?
Vodafone is not the only 5G provider that opts for the ‘inconspicuous’ cell towers. It seems to be a new trend within the telecom sector. There are already companies that specialise in installing these so-called mimicries. A mimicry is an imitation or camouflage in the plant and animal kingdoms to increase one’s own chance of survival. In the case of 5G transmission towers, this involves a visual integration of the base station into the environment in which it is located.
Chimneys and billboard columns
If this environment is a roof, then the transmission tower, for example, takes on the appearance of a stone or metal chimney. If the mast is on the ground, the column is covered with advertising posters, for example. The website of installation company Cantudo lists examples of 5G masts in Spain, including various chimneys and poster columns.
According to Telefónica, the integration of the cell towers in the area is fundamental for the roll-out of 5G facilities in Spanish cities. Municipalities want this to be done with respect for the urban environment. “Poles that resemble chimneys, street lamps, or other urban structures will enhance the city’s streetscape better than traditional masts,” Telefónica said.
Read more on Spain´s €153 million investment in 5G for “empty Spain”.