Virgin Media And Arqiva Agree Small Cell Partnership For Better Urban 4G

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Partners to offer ‘end-to-end’ small cell services to mobile operators across the UK

Arqiva and Virgin Media Business are teaming up to offer mobile operators end-to-end small cell services that could boost 4G coverage in some of the UK’s biggest cities.

The two partners say they have access to more than 400,000 small cells in locations such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford and Southampton and that the combination of Arqiva’s wireless technology and Virgin’s fibre network allows them to install, design and maintain small cells for operators.

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.

Small cell partnership

Renew recycling bins accused of snooping As part of the Super Connected Cities scheme, Virgin Media has constructed public Wi-Fi networks in exchange for access to street furniture onto which small cells could be deployed.

“Small cell technology is a key way of tackling network capacity in built-up areas for mobile operators,” said Duncan Higgins, managing director of Virgin Media Business. “Increasingly people are using their mobile devices to download and stream videos; that’s why services like this are so important. By providing more capacity in city centres where we already have a large-scale fibre presence, we are able to provide a great service.”

“The challenge in dense urban areas is that buildings can block the signal and the higher volume of users can result in network congestion. Small cell technology is key to addressing these challenges, as already demonstrated in the USA and Asia,” added Nicolas Ott, Arqiva managing director of telecoms.

“Thanks to our partnership with Virgin Media Business, we are capable of providing Mobile Network Operators a one-stop-shop and end-to-end connectivity service across the largest possible geographic area.”

Vodafone is one of the operators looking towards small cells as a way of boosting coverage and has agreed a deal with JCDecaux, the world’s largest outdoor advertising company, to deploy small cells on bust stops, billboards and other street furniture.

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