MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - As technology continues to advance, cellphone providers are looking at new ways to upgrade the quality of cellular service in highly populated areas like the Grand Strand.
Small cell technology is a critical piece of the 4G LTE network many people use currently, and will play a large role in the 5G network of the future that is expected to deliver superior coverage to even the densest urban areas.
“Without these little boxes that are going to extend your service you really wouldn’t have the service that you need to get through the day,” said CityMac sales clerk Allen Allen.
Allen has worked with numerous cellular carriers throughout his career and gets questions regarding spotty coverage during the peak tourism months.
“The population is so different during the winter time than the summer, when you put everybody together there’s a lot more data drawn,” said Allen.
Toneka Brown is one of those frustrated cellphone users working in Myrtle Beach.
“When a call drops you can’t get a good signal, ugh it gets crazy,” said Brown.
As cities like Myrtle Beach prepare for the 5G wave, their hope is to make small cell towers blend in with their current beautification efforts.
“The city of Myrtle Beach has spent tens of millions of dollars on beautification, putting underground utilities in place and making sure we have landscaping to make it pretty for not just our visitors, but our residents,” said Myrtle Beach city spokesperson Mark Kruea.
Earlier this year, federal and state legislators attempted to pass a bill that would allow cellular providers to put small cell towers throughout the city with little input from city leaders.
“We’re working with the utility companies, state and local lawmakers to see if we can’t keep some type of beautification as part of this rather than rush to throw up this technology wherever it goes,” said Kruea.
As families continue to use more cellular data devices, Allen believes the small cell technology is inevitable, but can be done right.
“We’re only growing, hotels are going up left and right, businesses are going up left and right, so we absolutely do need more service,” said Allen.
Several larger cities are currently experimenting with 5G technology.
However, it could be several more years before that technology makes its way to cities like Myrtle Beach.