Three UK, Freshwave Partner on Neutral Host In-Building Mobile Deployments

Mobile network operator Three UK has partnered with connectivity infrastructure-as-a-service provider Freshwave on the operator’s initial deployments of the Neutral Host In-Building mobile specification.

After successful pilot projects at two buildings in London by flexible office provider Workspace and at the UK headquarters of a multinational in the capital, the approach has now been adopted by Three UK for its indoor 4G connectivity.

Eighty percent of cell phone calls come from indoors, but modern building materials like energy-efficient glass make it difficult for the outside macro signal to get inside. This leaves many buildings as dead zones for mobile signals, which can reduce business productivity and increase frustration. Small-cell systems in the building bring the network into the house with guaranteed quality of service without putting an additional load on the outside macro.

The Joint Operator Technical Specifications (JOTS) Neutral Host In-Building (NHIB) specification is a recent and world-leading innovation in the telecommunications sector. It is an agreed technical standard for connecting shared in-building radio solutions based on 4G small cell technologies. All four of the UK’s mobile network operators were involved in the creation of the specification and it reduces complexity around a neutral host offering indoor cellular coverage to businesses. Compliance with the JOTS NHIB specification allows a third party or “neutral host” to provide enterprise mobile services on behalf of one or more operators. The neutral host can provide this connectivity with its own choice of providers and devicespment.

Iain Milligan, Chief Network Officer at Three UK
We’re investing more than ever in improving connectivity and coverage and already have the UK’s fastest 5G network, according to Ookla. With the acquisition of additional low-frequency spectrum in 2020, an indoor focus has been one of our top priorities and our agreement with Freshwave will further improve indoor coverage, particularly for business customers.

Tom Bennett, CTO at Freshwave
This is another step forward in making it easier for businesses across the UK to access secured indoor mobile connectivity and we are delighted to have worked with Three UK on this world-leading approach. We are pleased that Three UK is now using the specification and that Freshwave is the first company to be the neutral host for multiple operators of the NHIB specification.