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Iowa cross latest attempt at stealth cellphone towers as industry tries to disguise growth

  • Cellphone Tower Disguises-1.jpg

    In this June 10, 2014 photo a cellphone tower inside the bell tower is seen over the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Ankeny, Iowa. As wireless companies fill gaps in their networks, many have sought to camouflage the ungainly outdoor equipment that carries the nation’s daily diet of calls, text messages and data. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (The Associated Press)

  • Cellphone Tower Disguises-2.jpg

    In this June 10, 2014 photo a cellphone tower inside the bell tower, rear right, is seen over the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Ankeny, Iowa. As wireless companies fill gaps in their networks, many have sought to camouflage the ungainly outdoor equipment that carries the nation’s daily diet of calls, text messages and data. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (The Associated Press)

  • Cellphone Tower Disguises-3.jpg

    In this June 10, 2014 photo a cellphone tower inside the bell tower is seen over the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Ankeny, Iowa. As wireless companies fill gaps in their networks, many have sought to camouflage the ungainly outdoor equipment that carries the nation’s daily diet of calls, text messages and data. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (The Associated Press)

  • Cellphone Tower Disguises-4.jpg

    In this June 10, 2014 photo a cellphone tower inside the bell tower is seen over the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Ankeny, Iowa. As wireless companies fill gaps in their networks, many have sought to camouflage the ungainly outdoor equipment that carries the nation’s daily diet of calls, text messages and data. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (The Associated Press)

Many telecommunications companies are trying to camouflage cellphone towers by disguising them as something else — a cactus in the desert, a silo in farm country or a palm tree reaching into a sunny sky.

It's another indication of how the industry is evolving to meet the demands of consumers who insist on ever-increasing amounts of wireless information but won't tolerate large antennas looming over their homes, parks and other beloved sites.

So-called stealth cellphone towers have been around for more than two decades and appear to be growing in popularity.

But the issue can be sensitive. An Iowa church wants to build a tower in the shape of a cross. Some neighbors think the design will be too big and too out of place.

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