Spectrum Policy Forum Launches Report on UK Spectrum Usage and Demand

  • Research by Real Wireless demonstrates need for cooperation across multiple industries to maximise spectrum benefits
  • First in a series of reports looking at cross-industry spectrum requirements in the medium-long term

26 March 2015: The UK Spectrum Policy Forum, the industry-led sounding board to Government and Ofcom, has today launched the first in a series of reports on UK Spectrum Usage and Demand. Based on research from independent experts Real Wireless and drawing on the inputs of a panel of contributors for each sector, the report includes views on the importance of spectrum as a national resource from the space, utilities, business radio, meteorology and mobile industries. It can be downloaded from here.

UK Spectrum Usage and Demand sets out the spectrum needs of different sectors in relation to their contributions to social and economic value. As such, the report reflects the sometimes contradictory priorities from different industries, with the aim of fostering open discussion and mutual understanding.

Raj Sivalingam, Executive Director of the UK Spectrum Policy Forum commented: “Spectrum is a hugely valuable, but limited, resource. The potential social and economic benefits are enormous, so it is important we fully understand future demand across multiple industries. Through extensive engagement we will be able to identify the spectrum pinch points, which will guide the future work of UK Spectrum Policy Forum, to inform future policy debates and maximise social and economic benefits from spectrum in the long-term.”

The key sector trends identified by the Real Wireless report are:

  • Public Mobile: increasing data consumption will put pressure on spectrum allocations, and change how spectrum is used by the sector.
  • Utilities: the move toward ‘smart’ utilities will drive a move away from reliance on wireless, toward a combination of networks that can provide the necessary security and resilience.
  • Business Radio: demand for always-on connectivity and increasing data usage are driving the move to digital radio. The nature of these communications requires a high level of resilience, and for some users this translates into a desire for dedicated spectrum bands in mission-critical scenarios.
  • Space: a growth area for the UK, this sector needs to preserve and secure existing spectrum holdings and seek expansion opportunities to maintain innovation and investment.

Professor Simon Saunders, Director of Technology at Real Wireless said: “Real Wireless was commissioned to provide a snapshot of current spectrum usage and expected long-term future needs of the major users of spectrum in the UK. The report identifies the business and societal activities that depend on spectrum and associated drivers of value. We found that there are multiple industries with sometimes conflicting requirements, so the work of the Spectrum Policy Forum is of vital importance if UK industries are to get the most from wireless services. At Real Wireless we work to bridge that gap between the users of wireless and the suppliers of wireless services.”

Today’s report marks the first anniversary of publication of the UK Spectrum Strategy, which was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron at CEBIT 2014. A second edition of the report is planned for later this year, to cover Defence, Short-range devices & Wi-Fi, Broadcasting, Amateur Radio, Fixed Wireless Access and Transportation.

About the UK Spectrum Policy Forum

UK Spectrum Policy Forum is the industry-led sounding board to Government and Ofcom on future spectrum management and regulatory policy with a view to maximising the benefits of spectrum for the UK. The main objective of the Forum is to enable the policy and regulatory environment for maximising access to spectrum through cross-industry leadership and exploring ‘over the horizon’ issues in spectrum-using applications.

The UK Spectrum Policy Forum is supported by techUK.

About techUK

techUK represents the companies and technologies that are defining today the world that we will live in tomorrow. More than 850 companies are members of techUK. Collectively they employ approximately 700,000 people, about half of all tech sector jobs in the UK. These companies range from leading FTSE 100 companies to new innovative start-ups. The majority of our members are small and medium sized businesses.

techUK is committed to helping its members grow, by:

  • Developing markets
  • Developing relationships and networks
  • Reducing business costs
  • Reducing business risks.

About Real Wireless

Real Wireless is the pre-eminent independent expert advisor in wireless technology, strategy & regulation worldwide. It bridges the technical and commercial gap between the wireless industry (operators, vendors and regulators) and users of wireless (venues, transportation, retail and the public sector) – indeed any organization which is serious about getting the best from wireless to the benefit of their business.

Real Wireless demystifies wireless and helps its customers get the best from it, by understanding business needs and using its deep knowledge of wireless technology to create an effective wireless strategy, business plan, implementation plan and management process.

Its experts have worked at senior levels in vendors, operators, regulators and academia, with expertise in radio propagation, international spectrum regulation, wireless infrastructures and many other areas with specific experience in LTE, LTE-A, 5G, UMTS, HSPA, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, DAB, DTT, GSM, TETRA, PMR, PMSE, IoT/M2M, Bluetooth, Zigbee, small cells, radio, core and transport networks.

Real Wireless customers include Ofcom, Wembley Stadium, Transport for London, BAA, The European Commission, Virgin Media, Amdocs, iBwave, major network operators and many more.

Wireless industry in 2015: tough decisions and intense pressure – but users will see opportunities

Independent experts predict a year of acute complexity and flux

25th February 2015 – London, UK – The wireless industry faces a challenging year in 2015, but for consumers and wireless users the outlook is far more optimistic. These are the findings of the second Real Wireless Manifesto, published today.

With increased competition, consolidation and technology pressures all on the horizon, operators, vendors and regulators all have an unusually difficult year ahead. But this is good news for subscribers, who will enjoy the benefits of new services, business models and greater coverage in traditionally difficult areas, such as rural and in-building locations. The successful operators and vendors will be those who provide agile network and service strategies to adapt to this changing landscape.

As a consequence regulators will need to work hard to balance the needs of a rapidly changing market, maintaining competition whilst ensuring investment in national networks can continue.

The 2015 Real Wireless Manifesto draws upon the knowledge of the business’s independent wireless experts, whose technical, regulatory and commercial expertise spans all areas of the wireless industry. It follows 2014’s manifesto, which correctly predicted many of the last year’s wireless industry developments.

The experts also predict that demanding subscribers combined with increasingly popular LTE networks will finally push operators into deploying dedicated in-building solutions. Managing the expectations of new and existing LTE subscribers will be one of the biggest challenges in 2015, driving deployments of new solutions and technologies.

For the organisations that use wireless technology, 2015 will bring new opportunities. The business case for property companies, landlords and transport companies to rollout wireless connectivity remains complicated, but new developments continue to make the end solution a more attractive proposition; new revenue streams are opened up to venue owners and rural businesses gain from improved coverage.

Other key predictions for wireless in the next 12 months include:

  • Indoor coverage and the expectations of new LTE subscribers will become one of the biggest challenges for mobile operators
  • Wireless will become a major differentiator for airlines and railway operators
  • We will finally see a viable business case for the deployment of rural wireless
  • 2015 will see clarification over the spectrum and architecture needs of 5G – but not a full definition
  • Internet-of-Things technology will progress rapidly, but standardised technology will not be widely deployed for years.

“In 2015 we’re anticipating that the wireless landscape will become even more complicated, with operators moving towards quad-play and rolling out new services at the same time as facing increased subscriber pressure”, says Professor Simon Saunders, Director of Technology, at Real Wireless. For operators this means looking at new ways to differentiate and for regulators they need to assess just how much competition is healthy.”

The 2015 Real Wireless Manifesto looks at every aspect of the wireless industry, from 5G to indoor and rural coverage, spectrum, transportation, M2M and more. The issues discussed affect not just operators and vendors, but also regulators and all those that use wireless technology.

“2014 saw a lot of talk around 5G and, while we’re still a long way from an agreed definition, this is the year where we’ll start to get a much clearer idea of what it will eventually look like,” adds Saunders. “We also expect the transport industry to follow the lead of enterprises in realizing the value of wireless as more than just Wi-Fi. With some of this down to pressure from government, there is a clear need for these businesses to ensure they’re clear on the business case for rollout and are considering a holistic approach to their wireless strategy.”

The Real Wireless 2015 manifesto is available to download free of charge here. Bringing together the views of experts across the wireless industry, it highlights the challenges and opportunities for the sector over the next twelve months, with insights from Real Wireless on how to best shape mobile and wireless strategies.

About Real Wireless
Real Wireless is the pre-eminent independent expert advisor in wireless technology, strategy & regulation worldwide. We bridge the technical and commercial gap between the wireless industry (operators, vendors and regulators) and users of wireless (venues, transportation, retail and the public sector) – indeed any organization which is serious about getting the best from wireless to the benefit of their business.

We demystify wireless and help our customers get the best from it, by understanding their business needs and using our deep knowledge of wireless technology to create an effective wireless strategy, business plan, implementation plan and management process.

We are experts in radio propagation, international spectrum regulation, wireless infrastructures, and much more besides. We have experience working at senior levels in vendors, operators, regulators and academia.

We have specific experience in LTE, LTE-A, 5G, UMTS, HSPA, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, DAB, DTT, GSM, TETRA, PMR, PMSE, IoT/M2M, Bluetooth, Zigbee, small cells, radio, core and transport networks – and much more besides.

Our customers include Ofcom, Wembley Stadium, Transport for London, BAA, The European Commission, iBwave, Virgin Media, Amdocs, major network operators and many others.

For more information visit www.realwireless.biz
Twitter: @real_wireless

PR contacts
Darren Willsher/Andrew Hill
+44 208 408 8000

Real Wireless and Tech4i2 to evaluate licence-exempt equipment across Europe

Real Wireless and Tech4i2 are undertaking a study for the European Commission, to assess the extent and range of licence-exempt equipment being sold and used in the EU between now and 2030. The study will be used to help the European Commission in its goal of making available sufficient licence-exempt spectrum, harmonised at EU level, for future wireless innovation.

Concluding in September 2015, the study will enable a clearer understanding of the use of harmonised frequency bands by different categories of radio equipment in Europe, essential information for planning current and future spectrum requirements and managing congestion. It will also examine how the condition of such equipment differs between Europe and other regions.

This report follows previous work by the European Commission in constructing an inventory of equipment operating in licensed spectrum.

The analysis will cover the full range of license-exempt equipment: from Wi-Fi to garage door openers, baby monitors, and even key fobs. It will both consider whether the use of such equipment fits into existing spectrum without excessive congestion, and identify new bands where positive action could be taken to stimulate currently dormant – but potentially valuable – markets.

“The European Commission is keen to promote the shared use of radio spectrum resources, in order to foster innovation in new and existing markets,” said Professor Simon Saunders, Director of Technology at Real Wireless. “Real Wireless brings extensive expertise in both assessing the current landscape, and providing a detailed forecast of future spectrum requirements that can be used by regulators and businesses across Europe.”

“This will be an important study for how the European Commission examines harmonised spectrum, and could impact a significant number of current and future markets,” said Professor Paul Foley, Director at Tech4i2. “At a workshop in Brussels on 10th March 2015 we will be presenting an overview of the project to interested stakeholders. As part of this, we will be seeking responses from attendees to our initial research, which will highlight current capacity, as well as potential radio equipment and spectrum requirements to 2030.  To find out more see the project’s LinkedIn group here.

The results of the Real Wireless and Tech4i2 study will support the implementation of the Article 9 “Inventory” of the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (RSPP), developing a reliable approximation approach for assessing the medium and long-term spectrum usage densities in harmonised licence-exempt bands.   It will also compare devices and spectrum policies for licence-exempt spectrum in Europe and the US as input to discussions on achieving greater trans-Atlantic scale economies for radio equipment in the context of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Amdocs: Operators Plan Massive Growth in Carrier-Grade Wi-Fi to Meet Customer Expectations

Carrier Grade WiFi To Grow  from 14% in 2014 to 72% in 2018

Carrier Grade WiFi To Grow

New network planning and management tools critical for enabling monetization of carrier-grade Wi-Fi

ST. LOUIS - December 3, 2014 - Amdocs, the leading provider of customer experience solutions, today announced at Small Cells Americas the results of new, independent research exploring the transition from “best-effort” to “carrier-grade” Wi-Fi networks among Multiple Service Operators (MSOs) and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).  This transition comes in response to new end-user expectations for improved capacity and quality for “everywhere” content, and the need to support new revenue streams.

The Amdocs-commissioned research, conducted by Real Wireless and Rethink Technology Research, reveals plans for massive growth in carrier-grade Wi-Fi, the different strategies operators intend deploying and the technical barriers to be overcome.  According to the research, service providers realize that “best-effort” Wi-Fi is becoming less profitable and that new revenue streams can only be built once a higher quality of experience (QoE) is assured. This higher QoE is necessary for services such as TV everywhere, health monitoring, enterprise voice, online gaming, media streaming and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services.  The survey also highlights the criticality of tools for carrier-grade network planning and performance management, spanning both cellular and Wi-Fi networks, to enable the leap to new Wi-Fi services.

Key findings include:

  • Carrier-grade Wi-Fi hotspots will grow from 14 percent today to 72 percent of overall Wi-Fi hotspots by 2018
  • As part of their Wi-Fi network strategy to enable Wi-Fi coverage on the move, by 2016, 77 percent of service providers plan to use “homespots” (where the user agrees to leave the hotspot open for use by passers-by), growing from 30 percent today
  • Almost all operators (85 percent) plan to invest in carrier-grade Wi-Fi by 2016. MSOs see carrier-grade Wi-Fi providing better positioning in mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deals, supporting quad-play offerings and wireless services, while MNOs plan to use carrier-grade Wi-Fi broaden their networks and offload radio access network (RAN) traffic
  • By the end of 2016, 61 percent of MSO’s Wi-Fi hotspots, and 70 percent of MNOs’, will be sourced from third parties to take advantage of shared cost savings and accelerated deployment, up from 45 percent in today
  • Two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents placed the lack of strong network planning and management tools in their top three risk factors for investing in carrier-grade Wi-Fi, with 65 percent stating that their existing tools will not extend well to Wi-Fi without additional investment.

“Service providers are starting to see Wi-Fi as a strategically important offering that can enhance or damage their reputations and which needs to support a user experience comparable to that of cellular networks,” said Oliver Bosshard, Managing Consultant at Real Wireless. “Best-effort Wi-Fi networks are not controlled from the operator’s core network or operational support systems tools, and the access points often do not support any form of traffic management or prioritization. As a result, operators are unable to monitor or address performance issues such as congestion, meaning they cannot guarantee QoE – properties such as connection speed, latency or prioritization that are all critical to enable the monetization options for Wi-Fi.”

“Because quality of experience is essential to current and future network monetization strategies, operators need to have the right planning and management tools in place.  These are areas that are critical to the business case – to ensure optimal and cost-efficient roll outs, and to provide detailed analysis of network behavior and customer usage, which can feed into improved quality of experience,” said Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president for product and solutions marketing at Amdocs. “Amdocs network solutions allow service providers to maximize network capacity and deliver quality of service based on real-time customer insights while enabling greater cost-efficiency.”

The research was conducted between August and October 2014, with Wi-Fi managers from 40 service providers in Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America.

Supporting Resources

Real Wireless warns existing networks need upgrade to cope with demand for wireless on transport

Industry experts warn of reliance on public networks and lack of holistic business case in transport wireless services

Current approaches to the provision of mobile connectivity to travellers on public and private transport risk failing to meet demand or justify themselves financially. This is according to independent wireless technology advisory firm Real Wireless.

Instead, a service that meets demand will only be possible through the rollout of additional custom mobile infrastructure, in order to complement the existing provision of public wireless networks.

The expense involved in this approach means that a comprehensive business case is vital before any rollout. In many cases, a positive return on investment will only be possible if transport operators take a holistic approach to planning wireless service rollouts, combining revenue from passengers with operational efficiency savings in other areas of their business.

To explore the additional services and business models that can be enabled by wireless, Real Wireless has published a new guide ‘The business opportunities for wireless in transport’. Bringing together the experience and insight of its experts from across the wireless industry, both working in and outside of the transport sector, it provides an overview of the potential services that must be taken into account by transport companies looking at rolling out wireless services.

Transportation has seen a series of high profile announcements in 2014 regarding the integration of wireless services. The highest profile of these have centered on the introduction of in-vehicle data connectivity for passengers on railways and airlines, delivering benefits for both customer experience and productivity and creating new revenue streams for operators.

However ‘wireless services’ extend far beyond data connectivity, covering other technologies such as Wi-Fi, cellular reception, machine-to-machine communications and ‘big data’ analytics. Similarly, it can also bring benefits to the companies operating the transport services, delivering operational efficiencies and new opportunities to streamline the business.

“For passengers, the benefits of having access to data services on the move are obvious,” said Mark Keenan, Commercial Director at Real Wireless. “But our analysis shows that operators must carefully consider all their options before proceeding with a rollout.

“Transport operators should build a comprehensive business case for the introduction of wireless, taking in to account both direct and indirect cost savings and revenue streams and fully factoring in recent and expected advances in technology. A well considered approach can prove highly lucrative for operators and regulators, as well as streamlining their everyday operations and enhancing their customers’ experience.”

In the report, Real Wireless identifies the added benefits wireless can offer the following sectors:

  • Railways – including enhanced customer services, better insights in to customer behaviour and reduced carriage weight
  • Aerospace – including reduced turnaround time, more effective airport security and crisis management and revenue from on demand content
  • Roads – including accident prevention, shorter accident response times, and enhanced traffic flow systems to reduce congestion
  • Maritime - including onboard cellular networks, better tracking of cargo and new revenue streams for port operators

The Real Wireless guide to the business opportunity wireless presents the transport sector, ‘The business opportunities for wireless in transport’, is available to download free of charge here.

Real Wireless bolsters transport expertise with new consultant

15-year veteran Oliver Bosshard brings a variety of technical, practical and management skills

Independent wireless advisory service Real Wireless has recruited Oliver Bosshard as a managing consultant. Oliver brings a range of expertise, particularly in delivering wireless to transport environments and into venues.

One of his key strengths lies in combining his practical knowledge of the engineering and operational requirements for designing and maintaining cellular and multi-point networks, with his extensive knowledge of mobile technologies and how to practically implement solutions in specialist locations.

“Oliver is a great addition to the Real Wireless team and we’re thrilled to be welcoming him to the business,” said Professor Simon Saunders, Director of Technology at Real Wireless. “His experience leading teams in the installation of national wireless infrastructure will make him a valuable asset in the planning and management of wireless projects for our clients. We’re also particularly interested in his knowledge of specialist wireless solutions, bolstering our ability to offer wireless solutions for difficult venues and environments.”

“It feels like there was a perfect opportunity for myself at Real Wireless,” said Oliver. “DAS and transport are real growth areas for the business and projects are becoming ever more complex and technical in their requirements. Having extensive personal experience of working on specialist DAS and transport solutions that incorporated multiple wireless technologies, coverage techniques and business considerations, it was clear that I could bring a valuable skill set to the business.”

Oliver is a 15 year veteran of the wireless telecoms industry, having started his career working on RF planning and optimization for Orange Switzerland. During his tenure, he took on the lead role of the national special projects team, using DAS to deliver multi-operator coverage to shopping malls, airports, trains and railway tunnels.

In 2004 he founded his own technical consultancy company, specializing in network design, rollout and management with project in Africa and various Caribbean islands, before becoming the head of ‘Wireless Innovations Group UK & Ireland’, where he purpose built a team for the design, deployment, management and monitoring of wireless solutions to Wembley Stadium and the O2 Arena.

Real Wireless joins UK Spectrum Policy Forum as funding partner

Wireless experts’ contribution reflects the importance of spectrum policy to the UK economy and telecoms industry 

Real Wireless has joined the UK Spectrum Policy Forum as a funding partner. Acting as a sounding board for the Government and Ofcom, The Forum is at the centre of UK Spectrum Policy and closely aligned with the work Real Wireless carries out for many of its clients.

Professor Simon Saunders, Real Wireless co-founder and Director of Technology, has been working with the Forum since its inception last year, where he examines spectrum applications and demand as chair of Cluster 1.

Launched in September 2013 by Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, the UK Spectrum Policy Forum is chaired by Professor Jim Norton. With the involvement of a full range of spectrum-using companies and organisations, the UK Spectrum Policy Forum is the industry sounding board to the Government and Ofcom on future spectrum management and regulatory policy, with a view to maximising the benefits of spectrum in the UK.

“Spectrum is a scarce resource but it’s also one that is valued at £52 Billion per year to the UK economy. Therefore it’s an area that needs to be properly managed and supported,” said Prof. Saunders. “The work of the Spectrum Policy Forum is essential if the UK is to get the most of this valuable asset and it’s an initiative that Real Wireless is perfectly placed to support.”

“Simon’s work with us over the last nine months has been invaluable and we’re delighted that Real Wireless has now become a funding partner of the Forum through Steering Board membership,” said Professor Jim Norton, Chair of the UK Spectrum Policy Forum. “Real Wireless has an incredible wealth of expertise and experience in spectrum policy and management and this makes them an excellent partner.”

Busy city technology the solution to remote wireless coverage for 1 billion worldwide

  • Real Wireless shows how urban area small cell technology combined with satellite backhaul can be repurposed to provide rural and remote coverage
  • Use of outdoor small cells can reduce costs to affordable levels in most of the world
  • Real Wireless also launches new “Wireless for Good” initiative with Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) the first beneficiary

June 30th 2014. Cambridge, UK: Technology developed to provide capacity in busy urban environments could extend coverage into rural areas worldwide at a fraction of the usual cost. Real Wireless has found that the cost of providing coverage to 500 million people in remote areas can be reduced to affordable levels by using repurposed metrocell style technology, resulting in potential savings per person around 50% over macrocell based approaches.

Recognising the significant economic and social benefits that wireless coverage offers, Real Wireless has also announced a new initiative to support the delivery of wireless to remote and rural areas. Unveiled today at the Future of Wireless Conference, the ‘Real Wireless – Wireless for Good’ initiative consists of both funding and pro bono assistance, with Télécoms Sans Frontières the first beneficiary.

Mobile coverage has been proven to offer significant social and economic benefits, but there are disparities both around the world and within the UK. Traditional, macrocell based approaches have worked well to deliver coverage for the majority in developed nations but there are still hundreds of millions of people excluded as costs become prohibitively high. A GSMA report by Deloitte found that just a 10 per cent rise from 2G to 3G penetration increases GDP per capita growth by 0.15 percentage points.

At the conference in Cambridge, Real Wireless Director of Technology Professor Simon Saunders explained how technology developed to provide capacity in busy city centres can be repurposed to provide coverage in remote areas for a fraction of the traditional cost.

“There’s a strong international correlation between income density and mobile take-up and, where populations are clustered into villages and small towns, there’s a clear opportunity to provide cost-effective coverage with smaller cells,” said Prof. Saunders. “This is the technology that has been developed to provide capacity in busy urban areas but using it in rural or remote areas makes a lot of sense.

“Combined with a new generation of satellite technology and associated spectrum for backhaul, costs can be reduced to around one-tenth of the traditional cell cost. Our estimates suggest that such technology could then economically improve mobile service to one billion people worldwide.”

The Real Wireless – Wireless for Good Initiative has an objective of maximising the social impact of appropriate, sustainable wireless connectivity. Real Wireless will contribute targeted funds to selected initiatives that meet this objective. Alongside this it will also seek initiatives to contribute advice and expertise on a pro bono basis. To suggest projects or organisations that could benefit from this initiative, contact Real Wireless at info@realwireless.biz

About Real Wireless
Real Wireless delivers independent, informed and innovative advisory services in every aspect of wireless, from the technical to the commercial. It works with mobile operators, governments, venues, building owners and regulators to bridge technical and commercial domains to help its clients get the best from wireless. With experts in every aspect of wireless and a proven track record, Real Wireless is one of the world’s leading wireless advisory firms.

Its clients include Ofcom, Wembley Stadium, The ECB, BAA, The European Commission, major network operators and many others.

For more information visit www.realwireless.biz
Twitter: @real_wireless

PR contacts
Darren Willsher/Andrew Hill
EML Wildfire
+44 208 408 8000

240,000 fans can’t be wrong: One Direction fans likely to set UK record for mobile social media

One Direction fans are expected to share a staggering number of tweets, messages and selfies from Wembley Stadium later this week, as the boyband take to Wembley Stadium for a three-night residency. With attendees expected to potentially send as many as 10,000,000 tweets during the shows, the density of mobile traffic looks set to be over one hundred times that in central London.

With 19 million Twitter followers, five million followers on Instagram and over 30 million Facebook likes, their fans are notoriously keen users of social media. 

Based on a few simple assumptions,  Real Wireless calculated that their fans could send as many as 10,000,000 tweets during the three concerts.Wembley’s 90,000 seats corresponds to a density of 1.4million phones per km2, compared to 13,200 people per km2 in Central London. However, the traffic generated by 1D’s famously connected fans will be far higher than this average, thanks to their desire to upload photos and videos of the event to social media as it happens.

Speaking at the Stadium Business Summit yesterday, Real Wireless used the gig as an example of growing concerns over wireless traffic in venues.  They drew parallels between this and the recent Superbowl, where over 3TB of cellular data was used – an increase of 800% on 2013.

Mark Keenan, Director at Real Wireless, speaking yesterday at Stadium Business Summit, cited this as an example of the traffic peaks that Stadiums need to face. Mr Keenan also gave the explosive growth in traffic at Superbowl as a warning for European venue owners and operators.

“Getting coverage at a major event has always been difficult, but it’s now even tougher as so many visitors demand excellent connectivity with ever-faster devices and more apps,” said Keenan. “Customers at venues expect to get online and are unhappy if they can’t. They want to upload to social media or watch replays on smartphones; that requires the stadium has solid plans in place. If they don’t they will complain. But beyond customer satisfaction there are opportunities for stadiums to earn revenue from new sources, to improve operational efficiency and reduce cost”

“The US is a leading indicator: their 4G adoption is ahead of ours, but as we pointed out recently 4G is growing fast in UK. One Direction will be an early indicator of this, but as 4G adoption becomes far more widespread next year the full force of this will start to be felt – venues need to have their plans in place”

Typically a single mobile base station, even in a city centre, would serve an area the size of Wembley. However, with an estimated 72% of people in the UK now owning a smartphone, venues can no longer afford to rely on mobile network coverage from outside the venue.  Spectators and visitors want to be able to upload photos, check social networks and share updates as they happen, whilst continuing to do the basics – like make calls and text. This leads to a need for specialist, carefully engineered networks.

Real Wireless has put together a guide to the business benefits of providing wireless in stadiums and venues, available to download for free here. Drawing from its expertise in working with some of the biggest stadiums and venues in the UK, the guide looks at applications from providing at-seat video to tracking visitors and security.

Slovenia’s 4G auction sets example for rural broadband

As the Slovenian regulator announce the results of its 4G spectrum auction, there are lessons for the rest of Europe in how we deliver broadband  - both mobile and fixed – to remote communities. 


Real Wireless worked with the Slovenian regulator AKOS  to help judge the impact that coverage obligations would have on the auction. From our experience working with Ofcom on the UK auctions, we were able to advise on how the potential costs would vary depending upon a number of factors, including the specifics of the Slovenian population distribution and geography, the current situation of existing operators and the capabilities of the network technologies involved. 

Part of the EU’s Digital Agenda sees countries aiming to provide broadband at up to 30Mbps to citizens by 2020 – an ambitious target and one made particularly challenging by the cost of fixed-line service provision to remote communities. 


An integral condition of the auction was that one operator would be obliged to provide rural mobile broadband coverage to a high proportion of the population. Building on this, we found there was an opportunity to further reach specific remote communities who are currently missing out on fixed broadband services via in-home wireless gateways, at little incremental cost. As a country where a number of communities are based in radio-unfriendly, mountainous environments, using small cells to provide 4G coverage was an ideal alternative to expensive fibre. 

While other countries such as Germany have seen the potential for enhancing rural services via a mobile broadband coverage obligation, the explicit linkage between specific underserved communities in this project for Slovenia bodes well for joined-up fixed and mobile policies in other nations.

To find out more get in touch