Enhancement of Rural Connectivity by Recycling TV Towers with Massive MIMO Techniques

Ammar El Falou*, Mohamed Slim Alouini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Nowadays, the digital divide is one of the major issues facing the global community. Around 3 billion people worldwide are still not-connected or under-connected. In this article, we investigate the use of TV towers with multi user (MU) massive multiple input multiple output (mMIMO) techniques to offer connectivity in rural areas. Specifically, the coverage range is assessed for a MU mMIMO base station (BS) mounted on a high tower as a TV tower, and compared with a legacy mMIMO BS. The obtained results show that one high tower BS can cover an area at least 25 times larger than the area covered by a legacy BS. This is of high interest as recycling TV towers can enhance rural connectivity with low expenditures. We apply the proposed solution to a realistic case study in an Ethiopian rural area, based on population densities and locations of current BS and TV towers. Our study shows that a high number of people can be covered by existing TV towers. Non-technological challenges and additional possible solutions to enhance rural connectivity are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-83
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Communications Magazine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1979-2012 IEEE.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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