While the drive for sustainability in commercial real estate is good news for the planet, it is bad news for indoor mobile signal. 

Simon Frumkin Freshwave CEO

Simon Frumkin, Freshwave CEO

Modern building materials, such as energy-efficient glass, tend to block outdoor mobile signal. This makes an in-building network necessary for those inside to be able to use their mobiles. A building that is a mobile signal dead zone can reduce productivity for the occupiers, as well as diminish the value and ability to attract tenants for the owner.

It is possible to solve this problem by installing small cells or a distributed antenna system. These technologies guarantee quality of service as they connect into the mobile operators’ core networks. But what are the financial options for installing these 4G and 5G networks and having them managed as an ongoing service?

With the right partner that can guarantee the mobile operators needed, there are several commercial models available. The first option is for the enterprise to pay. If a business takes a floor in a large building that does not have signal, they can choose to have network installed, which they pay for themselves. This would be an agreement between them and the network service provider; the landlord does not need to be involved.

A second option is for the landlord to pay. The landlord can choose to install network throughout the building that they invest in upfront. Should they choose to, they can look to recoup the cost of this from tenants by factoring in the cost to the rent paid.

A third option is a combination of the previous two for a ‘pay as you occupy’ approach. The landlord pays for mobile connectivity in common-use areas. The building tenants can then choose to connect to the network when they move in, but they pay for the service themselves straight to the supplier. This is a model we are employing with success at London skyscraper 22 Bishopsgate, where to date we are connecting 14 occupiers over 30 floors.

There are now more options than ever for ensuring that everyone can access the 4G and 5G mobile connectivity they need. And with ongoing managed service offerings, it takes the hassle out of keeping connected.

Simon Frumkin is chief executive of mobile specialist Freshwave