Mobile telecoms technology is present in virtually every part of the globe, and our lives have become hugely dependent on it. We have embraced a more flexible lifestyle – working and shopping on–line, managing global logistics, energy systems, financial markets, healthcare – and every aspect of our lives must now be connected.
The mobile industry has evolved through first generation (1G), 2G, 3G, 4G – and now for the past three years 5G has increasingly become an enabler in many vertical markets of advanced technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. 5G will also help to reduce future operating expenditure for operators as they will be able to combine 2G and 3G spectrum to support 5G services, as well as reduce their energy consumption.
The growth in advanced wireless connectivity has been phenomenal, but sometimes is still imperfect, whether that is indoors (shopping malls, train stations, offices) or on the move (road and rail especially). But just for a moment, let’s pause and consider what it takes to make it possible for us to be connected as we move around, and to enjoy the benefits brought through increased productivity, amazing media and entertainment, and closing the digital divide.
Anyone working in the telecoms industry will be aware that before any operator can start building mobile infrastructure, they must acquire or lease sites, obtain planning permission, negotiate wayleaves – literally hundreds of complex tasks. This all adds up to high operating expenses for operators. To help reduce those costs, working in alignment with DCMS’s Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA) programme, AWTG has developed their own open-source platform, iDAMS (intelligent Digital Asset Management System). iDAMS helps operators and landlords in both public and private sectors to acquire sites efficiently, and at a predictable price compliant with the Electronic Communications Code. We passionately believe this is the best way to get telecoms (and potentially other) infrastructure assets delivered faster and at a fair price to all.
The Telecoms market is now bringing in 4G and increasingly 5G Small Cells using millimeter wavebands to achieve much greater coverage and capacity in our city centres and busy transport corridors, often using assets like streetlighting columns, bus stops and traffic lights – each of which need to be managed in the same way as any other telecoms site. This means many more cells and sites – and many more transactions between asset owners and operators.
A new generation of Neutral Host providers are fast emerging alongside the national mobile operators to support the needs of enterprises or venues (cities, counties, stadia, ports etc), and the Neutral Host providers also need access to site locations so they can deliver their required coverage and capacity. Open-source iDAMS can meet their demands too.
Our role as a Network and Systems Integrator is working with both network operators and Neutral Hosts to support them on their strategy, deployment and platforms to achieve their business objectives. We also work with a wide range of vendors to understand how their products and services interoperate, and to ensure they are properly set up to deliver the reliable and secure networks that enable enterprises and consumers to connect everywhere.
The 5 generations of cellular mobile, and 6 generations of Wi-Fi, plus low power and fixed connectivity have all taken immense intellectual skill and huge investment to deliver to improve connectivity for all of us. At AWTG we’re already working on research heading towards 6G, and projects bringing in satellite 5G connectivity, and as a leading network and systems integrator supporting the national programme of innovation, sit in the middle of all the complexity described above. We work closely with DCMS and the global telecoms ecosystem, and we are proud to invest significantly into our R&D programme.