Sprint, Verizon and AT&T are working with Seattle utility company to install small cells

Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T Mobility are working with Seattle City Light, the city's public utility company, to install small cells, according to an official at the utility company.

Seattle City Light hired tower company Crown Castle to install the small cells, beginning in mid-July. The small cells are being installed on 49 utility poles around western Seattle to enhance LTE coverage for Sprint, with much of the work being done in the vicinity of the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood. This work is expected to last seven weeks.

Earlier this year, 26 small cells were installed for Verizon in western Seattle by Crown Castle. Further, AT&T is in the process of arranging for a similar small cell deployment in the city, although this effort is not as far along as those by Verizon and Sprint.

Seattle City Light Senior Strategic Advisor of Communications Scott Thomsen told FierceInstaller that the municipal utility sees dual benefits to Seattle citizens. First, they will get better data service from major carriers. Second, the new antennas, sticking out only four inches from the pole, rather than 12 inches as before, now are "less conspicuous." Thomsen also indicated that the utility company is assisting by streamlining the permitting process.

Verizon has been particularly active with small cell deployment this year. In April, the carrier announced that 150 small cells were active in Michigan, with 100 deployed in the Detroit area. Verizon has also pointed to plans to install 400 small cells in parts of San Francisco. This project is slated to be complete by year-end. The carrier has also installed small cells in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Phoenix.

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