More than 20 years in the mobile industry have taught me that all-inclusive price plans and the latest uber-cool handsets mean nothing to subscribers without the simple five-bar service to back them up. As a field engineer for what was then One2One in the United Kingdom (UK), I felt the ultimate sense of achievement whenever I delivered coverage where there had previously been none. Driving to a site with zero bars, installing, testing and then driving away in glorious (2G) five bar coverage felt good!
CLICK TO TWEET: In Part 1 of this blog series, CommScope's Stuart Holyoak explains 3 ways to grow multi-operator in-building services.
In those days, hanging out of a window to gain service was still acceptable. Expectations have moved on. As motorway coverage holes were fixed and high capacity venues gained service, the focus moved on to in-building service where most of our calls and now data sessions occur. However, subscribers still struggle in-building. Factors that have thwarted the proliferation of in-build cellular services include higher frequency bands, cost challenges and the new generation of radio frequency resistant ‘green’ buildings.
These challenges notwithstanding, the demand for in-building services continues to grow. Flexible working practices have led to a focus on cellular services for everyday operations. An increase in BYOD policies ultimately means a greater reliance on high quality, multi-operator cellular services. With this reliance comes a growing acceptance that just as end customers pay for other utility services they would also be willing to fund in-building services, provided they are multi-operator and are backed up with service guarantees.
The delivery of multi-operator, venue-funded in-building cellular services are dependent on three elements; 1) wider mobile network operator acceptance of the challenge and the resolve to look at new solutions and operational models; 2) technical solutions that have common acceptance across all operators and 3) the expertise required to deploy and manage such a service.
In my next post, I plan to elaborate on these. I’ll also be participating in a panel on Neutral hosting for multi-operator mobile connectivity at the upcoming Small Cells World Summit on Tuesday 21 May in London. I look forward to discussing this topic with other members of the ecosystem.
Please check out this video for a sneak peek on what we’ll be discussing during this important industry event.