Freshwave and Online Systems team up on mobile private network project

Freshwave has collaborated with telecoms reseller Online Systems to deploy a 4G mobile private network at Erigmore and Thurston Manor Leisure parks in Scotland. The two companies designed, built and now manage the 4G mobile private network using outdoor small cell technology.

The private network shares Vodafone’s 4G spectrum following a 2019 spectrum-sharing agreement between Vodafone and Freshwave. Freshwave was the first business in the UK to acquire a Local Access Licence through Ofcom’s local licensing framework.

Greg Morton, managing director at Online Systems, explained, “I’m pleased that we were able to work with Freshwave on this innovative approach which will give those staying at the parks great connectivity.

“Using small cells rather than outdoor Wi-Fi meant installing less infrastructure, so it’s less disruptive to the resort while also overcoming issues challenging environments can pose for Wi-Fi. And with very little underground cabling needed with a network like this, you don’t run the same risks of encountering unmapped utilities during installation.

“Not only do the park’s guests and owners enjoy improved connectivity, but it also benefits the corporate services on site, such as maintenance and housekeeping.”

Simon Frumkin, CEO, Freshwave, said, “Staying connected is more important than ever before and people holidaying outside city centres need to keep in touch too. We’re proud to pioneer the use of shared mobile spectrum to deploy private networks, another new way of helping our customers connect their customers.”

Outdoor small cell technology brings broadband data speeds to each lodge in the park via a network of small cells and a mini antenna on each lodge. A SIM-based router inside then distributes the signal via Wi-Fi. The network uses Vodafone’s 2600MHz spectrum in areas where the operator does not yet use it for public services.

Verdant Leisure operates the leisure parks, and there are around 800 lodges and caravans at Thurston Manor, 190 at Erigmore, and 360 at Pease Bay. The locations welcome thousands of owners and guests between them each year.

Bev Dixon, chief operating officer at Verdant Leisure, added, “With our parks busier than ever due to the staycation boom, it’s great to be welcoming so many owners and guests. We’re pleased to be able to offer those staying at Erigmore and Thurston Manor Leisure Parks this exciting new broadband connectivity and we’ve received great feedback on it from holidaymakers already.

“People have been streaming, gaming, and working remotely, with no hitches to their connectivity. We’re looking forward to introducing it to our other parks in the future, with installation currently underway at our Pease Bay Leisure Park.”