Orange has announced the launch of Onsite Coverage, a service that uses small, low-powered, indoor GSM equipment to provide enhanced mobile coverage to smaller remote and inaccessible business locations. Following successful trials, Orange is said to be the first European mobile operator to make the solution available to business customers, with customer trials already underway in Switzerland and commercial launch planned for the start of 2008.
Onsite Coverage extends Orange's existing indoor coverage range which already includes mobile repeaters for boosting service across large sites such as business parks. Onsite Coverage brings a new solution to Orange's portfolio which is faster and more cost-efficient to deploy, allowing customers of all sizes to access excellent mobile signal wherever they are based. The Onsite Coverage solution, owned and supported by Orange, consists of miniature, low-cost cellular base stations which extend mobile coverage to remote rural sites and indoor areas such as basement offices or conference centres.
The solution is connected to the Orange network via a broadband connection and provides any Orange handset with an enhanced signal. Compatible with any 2G or GPRS mobile service, Onsite Coverage extends Orange's mobile coverage in areas where the signal is weaker than usual due to challenging locations such as mountainous terrain or concrete and steel building constructions. The solution can also be used to boost existing public network capacity in urban areas with very dense phone usage, such as shopping centres and large office blocks.
Onsite Coverage is a scalable offering, with each miniature base station able to provide full mobile coverage for up to 50 mobile users, boosting coverage within a 50 metre radius. Base stations can also be linked together to support more users or a higher volume of calls. All Orange GSM handsets are supported and key functions such as voice calls, voicemail, text messaging and email work in the same way as on the existing Orange network.
"As mobile adoption in the business market continues to grow, workers who move from location to location or even those who sit at their desks, need more access to mobile coverage in the hardest-to-reach places," says Philippe Bernard, Executive Vice President, Orange Business Solutions. "For example, a distribution depot in a rural or mountainous location may need to give staff mobile telephones so they can keep in touch when they are working anywhere on site, or a city-based trading company may need to provide mobile coverage to their basement offices ensuring employees don't miss vital sales calls when away from their desks."
Onsite Coverage is the next significant phase of Orange's investment in network quality and best possible access. Orange is conducting customer trials in a number of countries to ensure that service delivery in each country is quality-tested and customer-ready. The service will be made available to Orange customers in the UK, France, Spain, Poland and Switzerland during 2008.
Philippe says, "The launch of Onsite Coverage is evidence of our commitment to delivering the very best network for business. We are removing one of the last remaining barriers to corporate mobile adoption and helping our customers to get more from mobile, regardless of their location."
Regardless of whether someone is calling from outside their building or within their office using Onsite Coverage, all call charges and services remain unchanged because it is simply an extension of the Orange network. Depending on their needs and requirements, businesses will pay a monthly rental fee for the indoor cell hardware.