Guyed towers are lighter and more cost efficient than self-supporting towers where space is inexpensive. For this reason, guyed towers are more often used in rural settings. Three guy wires made of high-strength steel anchor the tower to the ground over an anchor radius equal to 2/3 of the tower's height. The central mast is made either of a triangular lattice section or tubular section to avoid icing. Guyed towers range in height from 25 to 625 feet.
These towers tend to be the most expensive to build. Used for television, microwave and power transmission, self-supported towers can have either three or four legs. Built on the ground or on buildings, these towers generally feature a lattice frame design. Self-supporting towers are the strongest and have the greatest resistance to ice and wind loads of any of the three communication tower designs. These towers can range from 30 to 490 feet high.
Monopole towers are of a single pole design and are generally used in cellular and personal communication service. They are free standing and are usually built cylindrically or with multiple sides. Monopole towers are often placed on the roofs of tall buildings. Each section of the monopole is welded or bolted together to a height ranging from 30 to 490 feet. The section with the largest diameter is at the bottom of the tower, with each successive section smaller as the tower rises.