First operator goes live on ‘pioneering’ mobile infrastructure

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The first operator has gone live on “pioneering” mobile infrastructure that will host multiple telcos.

EE has joined a connectivity pilot led by Freshwave that will deliver enhanced 4G and 5G coverage to users along Queen Victoria Street in London.

James Hope, Director of Mobile Radio Access Networks at EE, said:

“High capacity, super-fast connectivity is essential for consumers and businesses today, with demand for data and low-latency networks continuing to rise.

We’re pleased to be the first operator live on this pilot with Freshwave helping to deliver the best possible 4G and 5G services to our City of London customers, even at the busiest times.

The project is a further demonstration of how we’re enhancing our networks to help both digitise and deliver economic prosperity to the UK, and we look forward to extending it in the future.”

Freshwave designed bespoke infrastructure that spans 10 sites and is capable of delivering 4G and 5G connectivity for all four of the UK’s mobile operators, a first for the UK.

The solution features custom-designed wideband antennas, cabinets and columns, and large amounts of dark fibre – built by Netomnia – to each cabinet.

Simon Frumkin, CEO of Freshwave, commented:

“We’re delighted to have reached this milestone in the pilot of our truly multi-operator neutral host network. Shared digital infrastructure is the logical evolution in telecoms as cities become more connected and smarter.

Companies like Freshwave that deploy using the neutral host model help accelerate this connectivity for everyone as the model is more cost-effective, greener and less disruptive. I’m proud Freshwave is doing what’s right by all parties in this area.”

Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) has also signed up to Freshwave’s pilot and is expected to go live in early 2023.

Paul Broome, VMO2 London & South-East Trial Manager, said:

“With the largest outdoor small cell network of any of the major operators, we’re excited to have signed up for this pilot with Freshwave.

Adding extra capacity to our existing legacy solution of over 200 small cells in the City of London will provide further benefit to the ever-increasing data demands of its users. 

Outdoor small cells provide a flexible solution for boosting network connectivity and we’re looking forward to going live on the network very soon.”

High-density urban areas like London create demanding conditions for networks that can impact the experiences of users. Outdoor small cells at the street level help to alleviate pressures by processing some of the demand themselves.

The solution was designed in collaboration with all four of the UK’s mobile operators and other industry partners. Vodafone is due to join the pilot in Q1 2023.

We’ve reached out to the final operator, Three, on if/when it plans on joining its rivals on the pilot. We’ll update this article if we receive a response.

(Photo by Nejc Soklič on Unsplash)

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