Ericsson and Proptivity claim first with neutral host-led shared indoor 5G radio access

Leading comms tech provider and partner unveil shareable indoor 5G solution said to ‘vastly’ improve user experience and lower power consumption by up to 70% and equipment footprint by up to 80% compared with legacy technologies

As 5G flourishes in territories around the world, attention is now turning from the outdoor environment to indoors, where reception can be an issue. To address interior connectivity requirements, such as those in retail environments, Ericsson and its partner Proptivity have rolled out what they say is the world’s first neutral host-led shared indoor 5G radio access network (RAN), delivering download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps.

Powered by an Ericsson Radio Dot System, an indoor 5G small cell solution deployed in a central Stockholm property housing a flagship shopping mall and office tenants – a premier property in Östermalmstorg owned and managed by Fastpartner – is said to guarantee high-speed 5G connectivity anywhere in the building, even during peak hours.

It is claimed to be able to equip retail tenants like Åhlens with the capacity they need to provide shoppers with a superior, seamless mobile experience while supporting the growing demand for data that future 5G use cases, such as augmented reality shopping, will require.

Shedding more light on the nature of the deployment, Ericsson noted that shopping malls are busy public spaces that pose connectivity challenges, like ensuring all users in the indoor space receive the same quality of service, regardless of their communications service provider.

The strategic partnership between Ericsson and Proptivity is designed to enable a neutral host-led indoor 5G network – allowing one or more communication service providers (CSPs) to use that infrastructure to serve their customers – to deliver multi-operator, multi-vendor mobile solutions for high-performing indoor networks with lower cost per gigabyte than legacy solutions.

The Radio Dot System is said to minimise disruption to building infrastructure and operations with IT-like installation and compact components. Key products include the Indoor Radio Unit 8848 and Radio Dot 4453. The shareable solution is also attributed with lowering power consumption and equipment footprint by up to 70% and 80% respectively, both important criteria for property owners, compared with legacy distributed antenna systems (DAS).

Other tenants and companies in the building will also benefit from the high-performing indoor 5G network. It believes enterprise tenants can provide customers and staff with seamless, secure connectivity without the need for Wi-Fi logins. Offices can also poise themselves to support future workplace connectivity needs, such as high-speed internet for 5G laptops. Local operator 3 Sweden is the first service provider to connect to the shared indoor 5G network.

“This milestone with Proptivity using Ericsson’s indoor 5G network solution marks a shift towards a new business model in the indoor space, with neutral hosts and enterprises increasingly taking the helm when it comes to indoor 5G deployments,” commented David Hammarwall, head of product area networks at Ericsson. “This development underlines the growing demand for high-performing indoor 5G inside, as well as outdoors.”

Christopher Johansson, deputy CEO of Fastpartner, remarked: “We see 5G as a key innovation platform for our tenants and for our own continued digitalisation. It will likely create many opportunities that we cannot even see today. We have chosen to work with Proptivity as they offer a strong 5G solution together with Ericsson that meets our needs from a technical perspective, as well as a simple business model that we believe in.”

Haval van Drumpt, CEO of 3 Sweden, added: “We’re very excited to be the first operator to connect to this pioneering indoor network. By embracing innovative business models and high-performing solutions that enable network sharing, like the Ericsson Radio Dot System, the telecoms industry can provide commercial buildings with high-capacity indoor 5G more easily and ramp up Sweden’s digitalisation faster.” 

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