Commercial Buildings: Challenges and Opportunities for Wireless Connectivity

When you are going to install a cellular infrastructure solution in your real estate development, many questions may come up, such as: do telephone operators offer this type of service? Is it possible to obtain financing to implement this type of solution? What is this business model? 5G now represents a new wave of investments in wireless infrastructure – and you need to be prepared to understand how the supplier ecosystem and business vision operate and how neutral hosts can help you in this process.

Considering the answers to these questions, on April 21, QMC Telecom was at the Capital & Finance Summit of the Connectivity Expo, a business technology event in North America, which brings the industry together to provide infrastructure solutions for connectivity.

George Malkin, Head of the US Launch of QMC Telecom International, represented the company on the panel “Financing Options for Enterprises Deploying In-Building Wireless Solutions,” along with David Bronston, Special Counsel at Phillips Lytle LLP, and John Gilbert, COO / EVP / CTO at Rudin Management Company. The panel was moderated by Iain Gillott, President of iGR, a market strategy consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile communications industry.

According to George Malkin, the real estate market, especially in the United States, faces many cellular connectivity challenges, especially when dealing with financing implementations of DAS, Distributed Antenna System, an internal, dedicated distribution system that connects to the operator’s network, which offers quality signal coverage indoors.

Malkin explains: “The sources of financial support from traditional operators have decreased, and the financing options, so far, have been inadequate, even for locations that are willing to pay their own systems in full. We saw an opportunity to offer local funding that offers the benefits of using neutral hosts. Instead of requiring the full payment upfront, we provide financing that ensures that we are investing in the continued performance of the system. In addition, the property owner and tenants can dictate which technologies and bands DAS can use.”

And the situation is favorable to the implementation of indoor connectivity. In January 2021, the United States Federal Communications Commission authorized the full use of the 150 Mhz to 3.5 GHz (3550 MHz to 3700 MHz) band of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) for the unrestricted commercialization of a wireless service provider to avoid interference with the military use of the spectrum. Under the new rules, those using CBRS may be able to deploy 5G mobile networks without having to acquire spectrum licenses, so it allows companies to build their own private 4G / 5G networks, resulting in better 4G / 5G offers from service providers.

According to John Gilbert, COO / EVP / CTO of Rudin Management Company, a company that owns and manages over 15 million square feet (approximately 1.4 million square meters) of commercial and residential space, being the largest private real estate company in New York, this is the time for many real estate developments to be able to partner with a telecommunications partner. “There are more than 5 million commercial properties in the United States, and less than 10% of them have any kind of quality wireless connectivity solution. This reality presents new challenges while opening opportunities for those who are informed and prepared. Internal connectivity options can help homeowners and the company to provide a long-term solution that benefits tenants, users, and smart buildings,” said John Gilbert.

David Bronston, Special Counsel at Phillips Lytle LLP, who has extensive experience in real estate and telecommunications infrastructure, says there has never been a greater need for mobile network deployment. “As we are learning painfully amid the COVID-19 crisis, there is a significant need for rapid deployment of more robust infrastructure and networks. Now it is more important than ever to provide fiber for small cells, towers and data centers – whether in cities, peripheries, or rural areas,” he concluded.

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