As 5G demand grows, Sitenna helps telcos find more cell tower locations, faster

 The rollout of 5G networks is progressing at a rapid rate, with large-scale deployments taking place across much of the developed world. Constraints on 5G transmissions, on the other hand, are one of the most significant problems in closing coverage gaps. Because 5G technology consumes more spectrum than 4G, telecom providers will need to build many more towers to offer the stated capacity while maintaining the same quality signal that users expect.

However, erecting cell towers is a difficult task. An operator must first select the ideal position for users in terms of line of sight, then verify that the location has electricity and internet connectivity, and finally sign a contract with the property owner to maintain the tower there for a decade or more. Rep this process tens of thousands of times (and maybe even more).

Sitenna, which will make its debut at Y Combinator's Summer 2021 Demo Day next week, aims to dramatically speed up the process of choosing tower sites and negotiating contracts by providing a marketplace for landlords, tower operators, and carriers.

Tower siting and pole access have become national infrastructure objectives in various cases. The difficulty of fast-erecting new towers became a primary issue for the FCC during the Trump administration, which created a 5G FAST Plan to try to simplify rules around tower installation.

Sitenna's founders, Daniel Campion and Brian Sexton saw a chance to aid the cause with such programmes. They've built out what's effectively a marketplace that helps property owners figure out if they have an asset worth examining for telecom usage on the one side, and enables tower operators to select and digitally sign arrangements for installation on the other.

In June, the company launched in the United Kingdom, and “it kind of resonated,” according to Campion, who estimates that 65,000 real estate assets and around 15% of the country's towers are already on the platform. Two trials with Vodafone and Cornerstone, the company's tower provider, have begun. He stated that the corporation plans to join the American market in the first quarter of the next year.

While the company, like many other startups today, began with a marketplace, it is now supplementing that marketplace with B2B SaaS products. In this situation, that means tools for telecoms to handle the process of onboarding and managing new tower locations. “They ping pong emails back and forth once they reach the site,” Campion explained. “As a result, we created some tools to assist them with their workflows.”

While there is a significant wave of tower constructions currently ongoing as a result of the transition to 5G wireless, this wave does not imply that tower construction will cease in a few years. According to Campion, there is a “continual refresh of 15-20 percent on the carrier side” as a result of everything from shifting usage patterns to building reconstruction to simple hardware replacement.

And, of course, there's 6G, which, while still undefined today, is a genuine entity for which I receive invitations to conferences. The next generation of wireless will always exist, and Sitenna wants to be the hub for managing that infrastructure.