Does every company have to erect its own tower in each cel, or do they share towers? I live within a half mile of a huge tower, yet my reception sucks, even when I can see it. Obviously, it doesn’t serve the Verizon Wireless network. But I would think if each company had to erect its own towers, they would proliferate into an annoying forest of towers everywhere.
Is there a map of the cel towers for each provider?
In a lot of areas, cell phone tower sharing is the norm. People love their cell phones but don’t like their towers. (Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.)
Obviously, the company that built the tower would have first pickings on the best spots on the tower. (The antenas have to be spaced apart a bit.) So not all companies using a given tower would have the same coverage in that cell.
In other areas, sharing is less likely. E.g., in areas where there are already tall buildings and you just need to put up a small tower on top of one of them.
A lot depends on how independent the local government is. If they are strong, they sit on applications for towers until a guarentee of sharing is provided. If they are weak (e.g., purchasable with campaign donations), then you have forests of towers.
With PCS-type systems, in confined areas (like airports), there might be just one company with the contract for service. (Where it’s not so much towers but a lot of small antennas spread thru the building.) Ideally, it has mutual sharing agreements with other companies. Non-ideally, you have roaming fees.