UK communications infrastructure company Arqiva has won the right to fit 5G-ready small cell technology to street furniture in a key area of London.
Arqiva now has exclusive access rights to approximately 15,000 lamp posts across The London Borough of Lambeth, making it the twelfth such Borough concession in the UK capital following on from Barnet, Brent, Camden, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Wandsworth.
Similar deals have also been struck in Manchester, Southampton, Colchester, Eastbourne and Medway.
The plan is to fit so-called small cells to lamp posts in these areas, which will initially be used to boost mobile capacity where demand is particularly high or existing coverage is poor. Of more interest is the fact that these small cells will be essential to the rollout of 5G from 2020, where multiple smaller cellular nodes will replace large solitary base stations.
In addition to lamp posts, these compact cellular radio access nodes can be fitted to the sides of buildings or even inside venues where a concentration of phone users can compromise performance.
Nicolas Ott, Managing Director of Telecoms & M2M at Arqiva, said: “Today’s consumers and businesses are heavily reliant on a fast, uninterrupted mobile connection – it is a necessity for everyone. Building on our strong heritage in this area, 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.
“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.”
In addition to these small cell efforts, Arqiva recently commenced a 5G Fixed Wireless Access trial in central London, which will one day provide a more affordable and convenient alternative to current wired broadband services using 5G infrastructure.