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Spry Fox Networks provides multi-operator 4G coverage at Europe’s largest entertainment and conference centre

Smart mobile signal booster technology ensures high-speed data connectivity for live video streaming and social media activities at BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year event

Spry Fox Networks Ltd, leading suppliers of advanced mobile coverage technology to enhance commercial cellular and public safety communications in large public buildings, has been selected by Aberdeen City Council to facilitate high-speed voice and data services at the recently opened P&J Arena in Aberdeen. 

Dubbed as the largest entertainment and conference complex in Europe, covering a total area of 48,000 sqm and costing over £330 million, the world-class venue comprises a 15,000 capacity arena, three conference and exhibition halls, nine meeting rooms, multipurpose subterranean facilities, a renewable energy centre, as well as onsite hotels, associated car parking and a diverse range of restaurants and other public service amenities. 

Although P&J Arena is sustainable in its energy consumption and is in harmony with the natural landscape, its predominately subterranean design architecture meant there was zero 4G coverage for the UK’s four main mobile operators in large parts of the venue. Even the main arena, which is used for televised events such as the BBC’s Sport Personality of the Year (SPOTY), had no mobile signal.  Not only was this a major inconvenience for attendees and staff, it posed serious safety and security risks.

With high expectations from the general public and the different project stakeholders, providing a communications infrastructure that meets the stringent requirements of such a high footfall facility was no mean feat.

The Council researched the feasibility of deploying supplementary technology to overcome mobile dead zone challenges and began a procurement process to identify potential suppliers.  Spry Fox Networks was finally selected to fulfil the requirement because of their proven market reputation, their expertise in this field, and their Ofcom-compliant mobile signal booster product range, which is network-agnostic. 

The mobile coverage system is based on the Cel-Fi QUATRA, an intelligent signal booster solution (developed by smart signal booster technology specialists, Nextivity Inc) that overcomes dropped call, poor voice quality and low data throughput challenges, caused by weak indoor mobile signals. Not only does the Cel-Fi QUATRA deliver seamless 4G connectivity for bandwidth-hungry data applications, it also ensures ubiquitous mobile coverage for safety critical communications in the event of an emergency situation. 

Combined with the Cel-FI QUATRA is Spry Fox Network’s innovative QuantumPath assurance solution.  This allows Spry Fox Networks to continually monitor mobile signal strength and quality, along with voice and data performance, for the different mobile network operators (MNOs), thus delivering further confidence and service assurance to all stakeholders.

“The state-of-the-art P&J Live Arena represents Aberdeen City Council’s largest single investment to date and the city is now able to attract events of a scale and calibre that had not been previously possible. The BBC’s SPOTY is a high-profile event for which flawless communications are essential”, said Steven Robertson, Digital Transformation Manager, Aberdeen City Council.  “Spry Fox Networks has delivered a great solution in a very short period of time.  The P&J Live Arena is now able to offer the best experience for both attendees and staff alike.

“To be selected to provide a mobile coverage system at one of the largest concert facilities in Europe cements our proven reputation and expertise in this field”, comments Steven Ballantyne, Director, Spry Fox Networks. “By combining our QuantumPath advanced service assurance system with next-generation signal booster technology, not only are we able to deliver high levels of coverage, we’re also able to proactively monitor the availability and quality of voice and data services we’re providing, regardless of operator, allowing us to fine tune the system to satisfy requirements.”

Although initially intended as a one-off install to support the BBC’s SPOTY event, the system’s overall performance was so outstanding that Aberdeen City Council has decided to retain the system. It will be used to provide seamless voice and data coverage for a diverse range of concerts and events includingLewis Capaldi, the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour and the Elton John Yellow Brick Road Tour.

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