UK based company Dense Air has acquired 70MHz of spectrum in the 2.5GHz band (used by mobile networks) and has announced plans to offer network extension services to existing NZ mobile operators using small cell technology.
The company — a subsidiary of US based small cell manufacturer Airspan Networks — says its technology will enable existing mobile networks to increase coverage or support more users in a given area.
Dense Air has acquired its spectrum rights from two existing owners Blue Reach and Cayman Wireless and says it these will enable it to start its operations almost immediately.
Dense Air CEO Paul Senior said the company's mission was to help MNOs and MVNOs improve their business cases for pervasive 4G and 5G networks by densification, and it had no intention to compete at either the retail or wholesale level.
“By adding neutral host 4G and 5G small cells, running in licensed spectrum to networks at cell edge, either outdoors or indoors we can dramatically improve the service experience to end users …[increasing] speeds and network capacity.
According to its website, Dense Air's technology is targeted only at locations — indoor and outdoor — where mobile service is poor or congested. "We can deploy our service building by building or floor by floor to ensure network enhancement is highly cost-effective," it says.
The company also offers a 'Wireless Fibre Extension' service using wireless technology to provide coverage and capacity to end user locations that need fixed and mobile network services that are beyond the point where fibre is economically viable.
Dense Air's web site claims small cell deployments are growing rapidly, partly to support the 80 percent of mobile data now consumed within buildings. It says there are now more than 500,000 small cells deployed in more than 200 cities around the world.
According to LinkedIn Airspan Networks has an Auckland based program manager, Julian Heath, who is responsible for small cell rollouts.
Australia also in Dense Air's sights
Dense Air's direct parent company is Airspan Networks' subsidiary Airspan Spectrum Holdings, a company established in 2016 and "focused on obtaining radio frequency spectrum licences to support Airspan’s small-cell vision and to enable 'Small Cells as a Service”'(SCaaS) offering in various countries around the world."
In a submission to the Australian Communications and Media Authority in 2017 Airspan Spectrum Holdings said: "Australia is a key target for ASH and we intend to participate in any upcoming spectrum awards in spectrum suitable for small cells."