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Virgin Media O2 becomes first network to use JOTS to make live calls

Saf Malik
July 15, 2021

Virgin Media O2 says new approach will help address indoor connectivity challenges

Virgin Media O2 has become the first mobile network operator to make live calls from its network using a Neutral Host In-Building mobile specification.

In a partnership with Freshwave and CommScope, the operator will help simplify multi-operator indoor mobile network coverage for businesses around the UK.

The customer site where calls were made is located in Canary Wharf and is occupied by a global banking corporation.

The Joint Operator Technical Specifications (JOTS) Neutral Host In-Building (NHIB) specification is an agreed technical standard for connecting shared in-building radio solutions based on 4G small-cell technologies.

The technology has been agreed on by all four of the UK’s mobile network operators and reduces the complexity around a neutral host providing indoor mobile coverage to businesses.

By adhering to the JOTS NHIB specification, a third party, or “neutral host” can provide cellular services to businesses on behalf of one or more of the mobile network operators. The neutral host can enable this connectivity using its own choice of vendors and equipment.

Virgin Media O2 director of radio engineering Omar Calvo said: “Customer experience and mobile connectivity is central to our values and the businesses we support.

“To deliver a great Virgin Media O2 network experience inside buildings, we are joining with several different industry partners, including Freshwave, to build state-of-the-art shared in-building small cell solutions.

“This technology is aligned to the new JOTS Neutral Host In-Building (NHIB) specification, an initiative led by Virgin Media O2.

“I’m proud to say Virgin Media O2 is the first UK mobile network operator to support live calls on NHIB small cells and we see this as an exciting milestone for Virgin Media O2 and we believe it will transform the way mobile coverage is delivered into offices and indoor public venues.”

Freshwave CEO Simon Frumkin added: “Having provided over 250 businesses with multi-operator connectivity, we’re proud to again be at the forefront of the evolution of the neutral host approach.

“The NHIB specification provides users with guaranteed capacity and latency. Collaboration is key and we’re pleased to have worked with Virgin Media O2 and CommScope to bring another first to the market. I’m looking forward to other mobile operators also joining later in the year; it’s together that we best enhance indoor mobile coverage for UK businesses.”

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