Ontix provides next-generation wireless infrastructure using a range of solutions (including indoor and outdoor Small Cells) that have been engineered to meet the demands of mobile operators, local authorities, commercial real estate owners, and property managers. These solutions can also be “white labelled” to wholesalers, enabling them to become service providers in partnership with Ontix.
Your name and title:
Andy McKinnon, Chief Commercial Officer
Q1. Your company is a member of Small Cell Forum, so what is your view on the future of small cells as 5G comes in?
Small Cells will play a significant part in the requirements of mobile operators’ 5G infrastructure, catering not only for indoor connectivity, but improving outdoor signal quality and capacity offload from the increasingly congested existing macro networks.
In the UK, band C is used predominantly for 5G. This is, of course, a higher frequency and can suffer from a reduced propagation in comparison to the spectrum bands that have traditionally been used. Mobile operators are already suffering from a double-edged financial issue – reduced ARPU and increased demand for data, while building new macro sites can be extremely costly.
According to Ofcom, demand for mobile data in the UK grew by 24% in 2021 (with an average data consumption per user of 5.6GB/Month). Small Cells can be deployed on street furniture, such as lighting columns to help alleviate these issues, but importantly can also hugely improve user experience at a significantly reduced cost to macro build.
Q2. How do you see the industry changing at the moment and what can the Forum do to address/improve/or enhance these changes?
The industry faces multiple challenges – especially in light of the current global economic situation. The main demand from operators, and their greatest challenge, is improving quality and delivering networks that meet user demands, balanced with reduced costs to cater for decreased ARPU. Additionally, there are multiple initiatives to improve life such as Smart City and Smart Home which both require excellent connectivity as a foundational component. Therefore, a co-ordinated approach is required to deliver appropriate solutions meeting the demands and expectations of all. The Small Cell Forum has proven itself in the past to be a significant contributor to supporting the delivery of high-quality, lower costs coverage and capacity, and continues today to contribute with leverageable modelling. Ontix is pleased to be part of the SCF family, helping with these contributions and encourages others to join. Without a voice or collaborative contribution, we cannot expect improvement.
Q3. In relation to your business, what are some the key technologies /or polices that are driving the industry (or parts of the industry) forward at the moment, and how can we progress further and faster?
Demand for in-building connectivity in the UK has increased as users return to the office following the pandemic. Large offices have been remodelled to cater for more hotdesking and shared facilities – along with multi-tenant demand. To address this, Ontix, with the help of SCF, has chosen to design and develop our indoor offering based on an O-RAN platform along with full JOTS compliance.
This gives us the greatest flexibility expansion at scale, utilising the latest technology offerings from multiple vendors matched by the support and approval of all the UK’s MNOs. Adopting this approach, our delivery is simplified, faster and of an expected quality by the users.
Our outdoor small cell business continues to grow – with the addition of 4/5G Small Cell demand.
Further initiatives such as Smart City and V2X will drive and highlight the importance of Small Cells in the near future, and the work of SCF will help shape and expedite these exciting new offerings.