Freshwave and CommScope Launch UK’s First All-Operator Small Cell Solution

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Freshwave introduced a groundbreaking initiative achieved in partnership with infrastructure vendor CommScope. This new development combines 4G connectivity from all four UK mobile network operators (MNOs) into a single small cell solution.

The Omni Network by Freshwave uses CommScope’s ONECELL technology, designed to deliver robust LTE and 5G services from multiple MNOs indoors. Such an approach addresses the persistent problem of indoor connectivity, where signals from macrosites outside buildings struggle to penetrate walls and windows. Similar to Wi-Fi deployments, in-building small cells can alleviate these challenges.

Freshwave operates the small cells as a neutral host, managing them and charging customers a monthly service fee. This model simplifies the required infrastructure, reducing the amount of equipment, cabling, and installation work. Freshwave claims this can cut costs by up to 65% compared to traditional distributed antenna systems (DAS) and uses 60% less energy.

A significant aspect of the Omni Network is its ability to facilitate services from all four UK MNOs – EE (BT), Vodafone, Three UK, and Virgin Media O2 – through the same small cell. This consolidation minimizes the need for multiple overlapping deployments, providing cost-sharing benefits in the competitive mobile landscape. EE’s Director of Mobile Radio Access Networks, James Hope, noted that this offers “a clear benefit for sharing costs.”

Currently, the solution supports 4G connectivity, but Freshwave plans to introduce 5G in the next few months. Simon Frumkin, Freshwave’s CEO, emphasized that their technical innovation extends in-building mobile connectivity to a broader range of organizations. “As the only company in the UK able to offer omni network, we’re looking forward to the benefits it will bring to our customers across the public and private sector,” Frumkin added. He also expressed gratitude to the UK mobile operators for their collaboration in making this possible.

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