Freshwave tackles UK’s digital infrastructure problems

The Freshwave Group, a new network service provider, launched last week to invest capital and expertise in ways that realise the potential of the UK digital infrastructure market. Backed by Digital Colony, the Freshwave Group combines technical telecommunications capability, and commercial savvy from the property sector. With 5000+ mast site locations, 2000+ connected buildings and 200+ outdoor networks supported, they already serve a significant portfolio of customers, including the likes of Workspace Group and several central London boroughs and Docklands.

Focused on solving similar network challenges outdoors as well as indoors, the Freshwave Group’s shared vision is to make digital infrastructure remarkably simple. Each division of the business is led by a team of experts focused on indoor, outdoor and mast digital infrastructure.

Acquired by Digital Colony between August 2018 and June 2019, the Freshwave Group companies are: StrattoOpencell, iWireless Solutions and Spyder Facilities.

Jeffrey Ginsberg, Managing Director & COO of Digital Colony, shared: “With our end to end service capability, and our collaborative approach with all the mobile operators, the Freshwave Group is able to extend our unique approach to digital infrastructure in ways that best suit the UK market. I’m also delighted to welcome Simon aboard; he brings long-standing industry relationships, deep experience and significant momentum to the Group.”

Specialist technology firm CCS Insight also revealed findings from “Enterprise Connectivity Matters”[1] a research report which explores the value of digital connectivity to medium and large UK companies. Two thirds of respondents say their businesses are critically affected within an hour of losing all digital connectivity. While 67% experience office-based mobile signal issues every day. The business impact of these issues includes lost sales, wasting employees’ time and reputational damage.

Simon Frumkin comments: “High-quality, dependable digital infrastructure is critical to so many but the UK market has been held back. Particularly by the established infrastructure providers and their aggressive, self-interested commercial approach. We are pioneering collaborative commercial models which recognise the value each party brings and target the outcome that each is trying to achieve. From design and deployment to operation and maintenance, getting mobile networks live isn’t easy. With all the technical challenges and commercial pitfalls, it’s important that everyone involved has a partner they trust.”

Frumkin worked in leadership positions at UK mobile operators for 20+ years, including EE, Orange and T-Mobile. Most recently, he was Managing Director of EE’s Emergency Services Network Division, delivering a new critical communications network to 300,000 frontline first responders. He also served as Non-Executive Chairman at Mobile Broadband Network Ltd (MBNL), the network joint venture between EE and Three.

Frumkin continues: “With the race to 5G firmly underway, the only way forward is for cross-industry stakeholders to work together because no one group can solve this alone. With asset sharing, co-locating, new joint-funding models and collaborative use of our long-term investment capital, we’ll all boost UK connectivity faster, for less and in the right places. But what’s needed is a fresh approach. The Freshwave Group reimagines the economics and practicalities of digital infrastructure so that our customers can always connect their customers.”

Graham Payne, elevated from co-founder of Opencell to Chairman of the Freshwave Group, adds: “A great example is indoor mobile signal. Poor indoor mobile signal is often accepted as standard, but I always believed that with the right business model this could be changed. In 2015 we pioneered multi-operator indoor mobile coverage. By using an often overlooked technology (small cells) and packaging mobile connectivity like any other critical business utility, we created a way for both our enterprise and mobile operator customers to prioritise solving the problem.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine