Arqiva’s plans to work with operators to boost 4G and pave way for 5G gets a boost with its 12th London borough agreement
Arqiva’s plans to deliver better urban 4G mobile coverage and, eventually, 5G across London have been boosted by a new partnership with Lambeth Borough Council.
The deal grants Arqiva exclusive rights to deploy small cells on 15,000 lampposts in the South London borough and is the 12th such arrangement the network infrastructure operator has reached in the capital.
It has so far successfully negotiated with Barnet, Brent, Camden, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Wandsworth as well as councils outside the UK, including Manchester and Southampton.
In some cases it has offered to provide public Wi-Fi in exchange for street furniture access.
Arqiva small cells
Small cells have been touted as a cost effective way to boost mobile coverage in densely populated areas by using short range but high capacity spectrum. They connect to fixed broadband networks but use 3G or 4G radio technology rather than Wi-Fi.
“The ability to access 4G has had a massive impact on both individuals and businesses in our borough, opening up a whole new world of opportunities,” said councilor Paul McGlone. “So I very much welcome this agreement which will boost 4G where demand is particularly high, or where existing coverage is poor.”
Arqiva has long been a critic of the UK’s communications infrastructure, the regulatory environment and difficult planning laws. However, in recent times it has welcomed moves to simplify the process and said there has been an acknowledgement within local and central government of the need to boost connectivity.
“Arqiva is delighted to be working with Lambeth Council in leveraging their street infrastructure for the roll-out of small cells on behalf of the mobile operators in the years to come, when and where it will be needed to increase mobile coverage or capacity,” said Nicolas Ott, managing director of telecoms and OTT at Arqiva.
“It will allow Lambeth citizens, consumers, visitors and businesses to be better informed, entertained and connected on-the-go. It is also an integral key step in Arqiva’s strategy to be central to the UK’s telecommunications infrastructure – today in 4G, tomorrow in 5G.”
Arqiva and Samsung are currently holding a trial of 5G in London to see how fixed wireless access (FWA) can become an alternative to fixed connections.
The first commercial 5G networks are expected to arrive in 2020, offering speeds of at least 1Gbps, low latency and high capacity.