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3 UK deploys BT’s new Microconnect Distributed Antenna (MDA) system in Cardiff

June 9, 2005

2 Min Read

LONDON -- BT today announced that selected mobile phone users in Cardiff have become the first in the UK to benefit from a revolutionary new mobile delivery technology.

3 is the first mobile operator anywhere in the UK to take advantage of BT’s new Microconnect Distributed Antenna (MDA) system that allows operators to share small antennas to provide enhanced service in city centres and heritage sites.

The new system is part of BT Wholesale’s growing portfolio of low-power, mobile-coverage solutions for mobile operators, aimed at minimising the visual impact of mobile masts and cabinets in towns and city centres. Together with other solutions being developed by BT, the MDA system will enable mobile operators to offer a greater range of new services including 3G video streaming and information and location-based services.

The new system uses low-powered BT antennas attached to, or housed in existing street furniture such as street signs, lamp-posts and CCTV poles. Each antenna is linked by BT Wholesale's fibre-optic cable network to a BT exchange which houses the mobile operator’s equipment.

BT has worked closely with Cardiff Council to design, trial and implement an MDA network for the city. As the first mobile operator to take advantage of the system, 3 will make use of the MDA network in key locations such as Cardiff city centre and the entrance to the Millennium Stadium.

BT Director Wales, Ann Beynon, said: “BT, 3 and Cardiff Council are leading the way in adopting this collaborative approach to mobile services in city centre and heritage sites and are building on the wireless city concept.”

Beynon continued: “The MDA system saves duplication by mobile network operators such as 3 by using discreet shared, low-power antennas on existing street furniture. By housing mobile operators' equipment in our local exchanges, we will minimise and, in some cases, even remove the need for additional roadside cabinets.”

Rob Crutchley, Director of Network Rollout, 3 said: “The MDA service in Cardiff will enhance the existing service 3 offers to its growing customer base.”

Councillor Mark Stephens, Executive Member for Economic Development & Finance said: "This is a very exciting time for Cardiff. Major IT providers such as BT are looking upon the capital as a key cost-effective city to pioneer technological advances and it's the people of Cardiff who are the first to benefit. This is exactly the type of local partnership we are very keen to support."

BT plans to deploy MDA services in selected cities during 2005 and 2006 in agreement with local authorities and in consultation with the mobile network operators, adhering to the Mobile Operators Association’s ten commitments.

BT Group plc

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