Research shows that mobile data traffic in North America has grown significantly, and is projected to continue increasing at a rapid rate with the proliferation of mobile devices. Wireless companies have indicated that existing infrastructure is becoming congested and cannot continue to meet the demands of their customers.
Wireless carrier companies have indicated that until recently, wireless phone service in general has been managed using large antennas mounted on towers located on both public and private property. Those antennas serve relatively large areas, or “cells” that may include several miles. According to wireless carriers, existing cell sites are already becoming congested, and installing more cell towers covering large areas will not keep up with projected demand for high speed wireless data. To meet demands for wireless data, carriers have begun using new lower-powered antenna technology to “offload” data traffic from the larger cell towers. Each of these smaller antennas serves a much smaller area (1-2 blocks) but with much higher data volumes. This type of wireless infrastructure is referred to as “small cell.”