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How to hide a phone mast

I talk to the trees and they transmit to me

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We love our mobile phones. Can't live without them. But we hate the masts that come along with them. We don't want them in our backyards or on top of our appartments. And there are more masts to come. Analyst firm Ovum says 3G providers need at least 10,000 new masts in the UK, on top of the 40,000 GSM pylons already deployed.

Mobile phone operators go to extraordinary lengths to conceal the masts that form their networks. They are being disguised as chimneys, clocks, drainpipes, telegraph poles, and even weathervanes.

Dutch firm Kaal Mastenfabriek says it has aquired the European license to market and sell telecom antenna tree masts produced by South African firm Envirocom.

Envirocom has designed its own range of steel masts disguised as aesthetically-pleasing pine trees. Up to three operators with multiple bands can be accommodated on a single structure.

The UK has already deployed some of these trees in national parks, and the Dutch town of Bloemendaal will get its first fir tree mast. Whether the trend will catch on, remains to be seen. The trees are twice as expensive as traditional phone pylons, Mastfabrieken admits.

In related news, the Mobile Operators' Association in the UK, all 13 national parks and the Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty just signed a treaty of best practice to stimulate more ingenious ways of camouflaging the relay antennae. ®

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