Vodafone has extended a UK consumer small-cell service into the enterprise market, in a bid to help resolve in-building coverage problems for medium and large companies.
The operator has teamed with small cell platform provider SpiderCloud Wireless and Japanese consumer electronics firm NEC to offer Sure Signal Premium, a service for companies with at least 320 employees and 3,200 square metres of floor space. Vodafone said the service can be installed as quickly and easily as a Wi-Fi network, and will meet enterprises' need for seamless indoor 3G and 4G mobile coverage.
"The rise of the smartphone, mobile apps and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the workplace means high-quality, high-speed indoor coverage is no longer just a nice-to-have for business," said Fergal Kelly, CTO at Vodafone UK. "With Sure Signal Premium, large businesses can satisfy rising indoor capacity and coverage demands in a highly integrated, well managed way."
Kelly added the new service is one benefit of a £900 million investment by Vodafone UK in its fixed and mobile networks in 2013.
The operator said around two-thirds of enterprise mobile usage is indoors, citing research by Small Cells Americas.
Vodafone Netherlands also recently opted for a small-cell system from SpiderCloud in a bid to offer better in-building voice and data coverage for its enterprise customers.
That deal was announced in September last year, and represented a major coup for US-based SpiderCloud, which first unveiled its plan to help mobile operators better target small and large enterprise customers in 2009.
Vodafone started testing SpiderCloud's Enterprise Radio Access Network (E-RAN) small cell system in the UK in February 2012.
The E-RAN system consists of a services node (SCSN) that can control over 100 multi-access small cells powered by the enterprise-Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN). SpiderCloud said the system is able to support thousands of employees and can be installed "in just days" using SpiderCloud's Self Organising Network (SON) software.
Indoor coverage has already been shown to be a key concern for enterprises: According to a YouGov survey commissioned by SpiderCloud in May 2013, many businesses suffering from poor in-building mobile coverage and capacity said they would be willing to move to a new mobile operator that can solve this problem.
- see this Vodafone UK release
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