O2 (VMO2) has just become the first mobile operator in the UK to make live calls from its network using the new Neutral Host In-Building (NHIB) mobile specification, which allows multiple operators to service a mobile phone indoors. (4G and 5G) coverage for business and public places – a somewhat complementary approach to OpenRAN.
The solution, supported by Freshwave and CommScope, was implemented on an unspecified business site in London Canary Wharf ■ area. The Joint Operator Specifications (JOTS) for the neutral host (NHIB) is simply an agreed technical standard for connectionshared embedded radio solutions based on 4G small cell technology”- this standard is supported by O2,, EE,, Vodafone and Three Great Britain.
NOTE: A neutral host system essentially allows a third party to build the infrastructure that mobile operators can use later, as opposed to using an operator-specific kit and services.
The new specification aims to reduce the complexity around a neutral host providing indoor mobile business coverage. The idea complements Open Network Access Network (O-RAN) technology, which seeks to standardize the design and functionality of the RAN kit and software (masts and antennas, etc.), thus increasing the number of companies that can supply vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology (ie to stay with only Nokia and Ericsson, etc.).
Omar Calvo, Director of Radio Engineering at VMO2, said:
“Customer experience and mobile connectivity are essential to our values and the business we support. To deliver great Virgin Media Experience in the O2 network in buildings, we connect with several different industry partners, including Freshwave, to build state-of-the-art shared small cell solutions.
This technology is in line with the new specification of JOTS Neutral Host In-Building (NHIB), an initiative led by Virgin Media O2. I am proud to say that Virgin Media O2 is the first mobile network operator in the UK to have live calls with small NHIB cells and we see this as an exciting milestone for Virgin Media O2 and we believe it will change the way we which mobile coverage is delivered to offices and indoor public places. “
All operators have an active interest in this technology, so you can expect to see much more of it in the future.