It is estimated that 7.5m UK buildings could need dedicated in-building mobile coverage by 2016, according to a new report published by Ofcom.
So what does this mean for business?
While it is usually assumed that coverage will improve over time, the change in materials used for construction and the rising expectations of wireless users for reliable high speed services, mean that indoor coverage could actually worsen for some.
The UK regulator's report - prepared by Real Wireless - emphasises just how critical in-building cellular coverage is to British businesses, with significant implications for business, homes, landlords, property developers,stadiums and other venues.
What's more, this will become increasingly important as people start using LTE and rely on the higher datas for their work, while shopping or at an event.
Increasingly, building tenants and consumers see wireless service as an essential utility. That means venues and locations which cannot deliver the high-quality coverage that tenants and visitors expect will see the consequences, as those people will go to places where they can talk to friends, share shopping ideas & connect to social media.
In other words, addressing coverage for those 7.5 million buildings is going to be a business necessity.
The report was prepared for Ofcom by Real Wireless, the leading independent wireless experts.
As well as advising Ofcom, Real Wireless also provides independent advice to businesses, including:
Commercial potential of wireless for building owners and management.
Data and voice challenges and systems.
Planning for business growth and future technologies
While outdoor coverage has received most attention in the past, it is clear that improving in-building coverage for businesses and homes is a rising priority and is being increasingly closely monitored by regulators and government.
In the first in a series of interviews with Real Wireless experts, we talk to Mark Keenan about how businesses are meeting the increasing demand for wireless.
What's your background with Real Wireless?
I am one of the founders of Real Wireless having set up the company with Simon Saunders back in 2007. We saw an emerging need to demystify wireless for venue owners and to help the operators get into those venues. That need has since become mainstream.
What's your area of expertise?
I've been responsible for designing and deploying hundreds of in-building wireless systems in both technical and commercial aspects. One particular project of note was working with Wembley Stadium to provide wireless coverage for staff and spectators at the stadium - a really challenging wireless environment and also one where we needed to get the commercial case right. These days I use that background to advise our customers on the best approach for their business.
What are the biggest challenges with in-building wireless?
The problems vary so much between each venue and location so there's no simple solution. The challenge is in finding out what level of coverage or capacity is required and when, and then matching that up with the commercial benefits and cost. The good news is that there are lots more technical solutions available today to fit every need.
About Real Wireless
Real Wireless is the pre-eminent independent expert advisor in wireless technology, strategy & regulation worldwide. Find out more at www.realwireless.biz