Streamlining Telecoms Services: An inside look at Shields’ decommissioning services


Shields offers many telecoms services which streamline telecoms operations and create hassle-free solutions for network operators. From buying new equipment to removing unused equipment, Shields has the solution for you. Read on to find out more about our industry-leading decommissioning services and how you could benefit.


For over 40 years, Shields has been providing decommissioning services to the world’s largest fixed and mobile telecom operators. Telecoms decommissioning or decom is the process by which network equipment is safely deinstalled and removed from an often live network or site. Forty years ago, decom was largely about the recovery and recycling of redundant or obsolete network assets, but today the picture is very different.

For professional decommissioning service partners like Shields, today’s decom services are primarily focused on redeployment, resale and planet benefits that can be achieved through expert recovery and reporting. Shields are one of the only, if not the only, decom providers who will give you full visibility of the assets (by serial number) we deinstall from start to finish, using our innovative scanning solutions.

Our Services Team’s industry-leading experience in decom and their dedication to carefully de-installing equipment so it remains suitable for reuse or resale, allows us to offer additional savings or revenue generation opportunities. Through this approach, we are able to enable your network to become your own biggest supplier for spares and legacy network support.

If your network chooses to partner with us for decom, you’re not only reducing your OPEX by powering down unused equipment, but you also have the option to lower your CAPEX by reusing the equipment within your own network if needed. This has allowed Shields to achieve multi-million year-on-year CAPEX savings for the operators we already work with.

Even if your network doesn’t have a use case for de-installed assets you still get full visibility and have the opportunity to resell the equipment to the wider market or ethically recycle it. Thus meaning you have a hassle-free new stream of revenue and/or brand protection through our sustainable recycling processes.

Decom recycling stats sheet graphic

Shields Decom process:

Shields begins each of our decom projects with a site survey – either desktop or onsite – to ensure any extraction and recovery works are properly planned, risk assessments are carried out and there’s minimal to no risk of service interruption. Our team’s motto is first-time right time. We also assess potential access and Health & Safety issues in advance of any recovery work commencing.

Once the survey is complete, Shields can provide a proposal detailing the equipment to be recovered and the cost for decom, along with an assessment of the number of engineers, timescales and logistics required to safely complete the project.

Decom services provided by Shields can additionally include secure destruction, cable recovery and floor tile replacement, along with earth bonding, FM 200 and air conditioning removal. Our full switch recoveries are often cost neutral too, so it’s hassle-free and your network gets all the benefits.

As a registered ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001 & ISO 45001 company, Shields prides itself on providing a safe, efficient, and cost-effective solution to maximise the revenues and planet benefits from your unwanted telecommunications hardware. With 11 facilities located throughout Europe and the USA, we are well placed as your local partner to provide maximum return on your retired assets, with minimum logistics costs and CO2 footprint.

A high-level process flow is shown below:

Shields USA Decom Process:

Our Shields USA Services team offers decom/deinstall telecoms services as well as our core telecoms installation services and although quite similar to our EMEA Decom offering there are some key differentiators within the US market. Our clients request our decom services for multiple reasons some of which include:

  • End of life
  • Technology upgrades
  • To free up valuable real estate within their facilities
  • To create an additional revenue stream

Although our decom services are not our main business focus in the USA, we routinely remove switching equipment from central office facilities. Some common equipment types we remove are Lucent 5E, Nortel DMS & Siemens 1st Generation Digital Switches. We also routinely remove and replace batteries and power plants in macro cell sites and hubs, and antiquated network equipment such as Tellabs Titan 5500, Adtran, DS-1, DS-3 Bays and other miscellaneous ancillary equipment.

Our Shields USA Services team is currently participating in national 3G equipment removal tender discussions. If awarded, Shields will be removing full 60+ frame switches from central offices and retired CDMA equipment from macro cell sites and hubs across the USA.

Our decom projects typically consist of removing retired equipment that previously has had all service migrated off of it and has been powered down by our clients’ operations personnel. Our decom services include all equipment bays and cabinets, power/ground/signal/fibre cabling disconnections, “mining” said cables to their respective far-ends, removal of center-aisle lighting, overhead cable troughs and stanchions, and infrastructure (cable ladder racking, fiber raceway, and auxiliary framing).

The final destination of the removed equipment, cabling, and infrastructure scrap material is largely up to our clients. In the USA, Shields offers refurbishment, repair, resale and recycling services, which tier 2 & tier 3 carriers often utilize. Typically, however, our USA services tier 1 carrier clients have their incumbent recycling partners receive these items and responsibly distribute them for reuse or recycling.

With the heightened awareness of the principles of ESG and the circular economy, we expect decom projects to become a significantly larger percentage of Shields USA Services’ workload in 2023 and beyond.

To find out how you can kickstart your decom with us get in touch today.