Why Small Cells?

Check out this video to see how Small Cells enhance the speed and reliability of wireless service to keep up with increased data needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a small cell?

A small cell is just like the name implies. Small cells are short range mobile cell sites used to complement larger macro cells (or cell towers). A small cell augments Verizon’s capacity in a given area. It consists of a radio, antenna, power and a fiber connection. Small cells enable the Verizon network team to strategically add capacity to high traffic areas.

Why small cells?

Demand for wireless data services has grown 18 fold over the past 5 years. Small cells are part of Verizon’s network strategy to provide reliable service and keep up with this booming demand for wireless data. Small cells add capacity in small specific areas to improve in-building coverage, voice quality, reliability, and data speeds for local residents, businesses, first responders and visitors using the Verizon Wireless network.

How does it work?

A small cell uses small radios and antennas placed on various types of poles like utility poles, street lights, or new poles in the public right-of-way. The coverage area can range from a few hundred feet to upwards of 1,000 ft. depending on topography, capacity needs, and more. This small focused footprint supports the latest technology-enabled devices, allowing more consumers to do things like stream video or share photos on social media during events.

Where has Verizon deployed small cells?

Verizon first began adding small cells in late 2013 across the country to meet community needs, with the first small cells in the Salt Lake City public right-of-way deployed in 2019.

Does this replace the need for macro cell sites?

For Verizon, small cells are part of a balanced approach to network capacity. Verizon will continue to add traditional macro cell sites, expand its wireless footprint for increased capacity and coverage, and will keep investing in the things that keep its network running, even during times of disaster – battery back-up, generators, mobile cell sites, and more.

Where will Verizon add small cells?

Verizon looks to add small cells in areas ranging from urban centers to residential communities where there is a need for extra capacity to serve customers to stay ahead of the demand for wireless data.

Are small cells subject to the same regulation as a traditional/macro cell site?

Verizon has worked with Salt Lake City on small cell placement including right-of-way regulations and more. For more information, please visit the City’s webpage at https://www.slc.gov/engineering/small-cell-infrastructure-design-standards/.

Are small cells reviewed for compliance with FCC safety guidelines?

Yes. All small cells must comply with the same stringent standards under which macro communications sites are reviewed and regulated.


Have more questions? Reach out to us at vzwnetworkutah@verizonwireless.com