Ericsson, Proptivity debut neutral-host indoor-5G at shopping mall in Sweden

Ericsson, Proptivity debut neutral-host indoor-5G at shopping mall in Sweden

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The neutral-host partnership between telecoms vendor Ericsson and real estate management company Proptivity, announced last month, has borne its first commercial fruit with the deployment of an indoor 5G network at a shopping mall in Stockholm. The Swedish duo said the local operating unit of Hutchison owned mobile operator Three (3 Sweden) is the first service provider to connect to the new shared indoor 5G network.

The networking contract, primed by Proptivity, is with building owner Fastpartner. The network, owned and managed by Fastpartner, is live at its retail property in Östermalmstorg, in central Stockholm; the Östermalmstorg site also houses office tenants, plus retailers such as Swedish department store chain Åhléns, which features in a press note about the deployment. As yet, no other operator has taken up residence on the network, to make it ‘neutral host’.

Proptivity has invested nearly $3 million into indoor cellular 4G and 5G networks over five years, branded and sold as Gigabit 5G, available to mobile operators to run airtime services on top; the partnership with Ericsson centres on its country-mate’s Radio Dot indoor radio access network (RAN) system. Proptivity is looking to support indoor neutral host use cases for sundry 5G devices, including robots, sensors, cameras, printers, even coffee machines.

Ericsson said a shareable indoor 5G network lowers power consumption by up to 70 percent and the RAN footprint by up to 80 percent compared to legacy DAS technologies. High-capacity indoor 5G connectivity promises to “vastly improve user experience in public spaces like shopping malls and offices”, it added. It made passing reference to AR-based shopping experiences, although Åhléns put focus on in-store online shopping. 

A statement explained: “Shopping malls are busy public spaces that pose connectivity challenges, like ensuring all end users in the indoor space receive the same quality of service, regardless of their communications service provider… A neutral host-led indoor 5G network… delivers multi-operator, multi-vendor mobile solutions for high-performing indoor networks with lower cost per gigabyte than legacy solutions.”

Christopher Johansson, deputy chief at Fastpartner, said: “We see 5G as a key innovation platform for our tenants and for our own continued digitalization. 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.”

Ayad Al Saffar, chief executive at Åhlens, said: “Åhlens wants to be in the forefront of shopping, online as well as physically. Our customers already expect to use their phones when in our stores, and we see many future opportunities to increase both customer engagement and sales by making phones a more integral part of a successful purchase experience. We welcome all 3 Sweden users to visit Åhlens…  to experience a true indoor 5G service, and hopefully customers with other operators in the future, too.”

Mikael Lundman, chief executive at Proptivity, said: “Fastpartner… is a clear frontrunner in the real estate market when it comes to indoor connectivity. Together with Ericsson, we’ve developed an indoor 5G solution that meets [its] requirements for a future-proof network infrastructure that can be leveraged by all mobile operators to provide tenants with an amazing 5G experience, regardless of what mobile operator the current or future tenants are using.”

David Hammarwall, head of product area networks at Ericsson, said: “This milestone with Proptivity… 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. This development underlines the growing demand for high-performing indoor 5G inside, as well as outdoors.”


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