The enterprise mobile services challenge

Dimitris Mavrakis/Informa Telecoms and Media
08 May 2013

Enterprise clients typically represent the subscriber group with the highest value for mobile operators.

Mobile operators typically have whole departments dealing with large enterprise customers, but so far they have paid limited attention to the most important need of the mobile workforce: excellent mobile coverage in the office. This has been a reason for enterprise clients churning, especially when fierce competition allows competitors to offer better levels of service.

But this is now changing and enterprise specific technologies are evolving as the need to retain these high value customers becomes stronger.

How are offices connected?

Mobile coverage in the enterprise has not traditionally been the domain of mobile operators. First of all, mobile operators only deploy coverage technologies in an office if a client is of significant importance and even then, only when the client signs a multi year contract and can demonstrate that it has major coverage problems.

However this is not without good reason: traditional technologies to cover large areas have been very expensive and laborious to install.

Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) have been the technology of choice for mobile operators in advanced markets. A controller is typically installed in a server room and fiber is deployed throughout the office to connect various units that act as cellular access points.

A degree of control over the DAS installation may be exercised by the enterprise IT department, but the operator usually maintains, supports and controls the network. The fact that fiber needs to be deployed makes DAS a complex, time consuming, potentially disruptive and expensive exercise.

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