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Published on : Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Are you among the many hoteliers still waiting for a wireless service provider to do a site assessment and install a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at their expense to give guests the cellular coverage they expect while at your hotel? If yes, we’ve got some bad news. They aren’t coming. Unless a building is strategic to the phone company – like serving as the headquarter hotel for the Super Bowl – hoteliers are on their own to find a fix for insufficient cell coverage.
“Several hoteliers told us during HITEC they don’t need a DAS provider to install a bi-directional antenna network to fix their signal strength issues because a carrier is coming to correct the problem; they just don’t know when,” said Pam Angelucci, RoamBOOST SVP of Operations. “So we asked them: ‘How long have you been waiting for this free service?’ Most said they have been waiting for years, especially those with single properties. While operators are waiting, guests are not, and they have probably moved on to a hotel near you.”
With the telecom landscape changing from wired landlines to a wireless cellular environment, Angelucci explained that the wireless service providers or cell companies are no longer accepting responsibility for providing service when coverage problems stem from low-emission glass or dense structural footprints compromising the signal. The only way for a hotel to get funding is if the hotel is a money-maker for the carrier.
Wait for it . . .
“I also had conversations with hoteliers at HITEC who were fortunate enough to receive carrier funding – or so they thought,” Angelucci said. “A carrier may install a DAS at no cost to the hotel, but there is always a catch. Hoteliers told me they were surprised to learn that once they signed a deal with a particular carrier, it prevented others from also providing service. For example, in consideration for Verizon installing the DAS at a hotel, the carrier will probably prohibit the hotel from allowing AT&T, T-Mobile and/or Sprint from providing in-building service. In these funding situations, the carrier owns the space – often for several years until the contract expires. In one conversation, a hotelier told me he was contractually bound for 10 years to remain with the sole carrier.”
Show ‘Em the Money
To understand why the Wireless Service Providers (WSPs) are shifting their focus away from hotels, just follow the money. Hospitals, universities and even airports are taking service priority away from hotels due to public safety considerations.
“In emergency situations, the WSPs must offer strong cell coverage – especially in a health care facility, on a college campus or at a major airline hub,” Angelucci said. “If someone needs to dial 9-1-1 from their cell phone, they need assurances that they can connect. Due to the nature of the lodging business, hotels have simply fallen down on the priority list. Owners and operators can no longer rely on the carriers for help. RoamBOOST is proving to be the best alternative.”
RoamBOOST provides enterprise solutions for perfect cellular coverage at any hotel. The RoamBOOST DAS uses a network of bi-directional antennas that are placed strategically inside a hotel (in corridors, common areas and meeting spaces) or outdoor across recreational areas (such as pool, golf courses, tennis courts, etc.) to address signal strength issues – or lack of a signal altogether. The system proactively removes any obstacles that could potentially interfere with 3G mobile calls or 4G data transactions. In this passive DAS environment, the system works by taking an existing mobile signal and amplifying it throughout problem areas of a hotel. The solution can target specific areas as small as 5,000 square feet up to entire multi-site, multi-story properties. For larger installations, RoamBOOST would work in an Active DAS environment, which connects the building directly to the carriers’ signal source.
“Hoteliers are beginning to realize the critical role that DAS plays in their daily operations,” Angelucci said. “It’s a key component to ensuring customer satisfaction, loyalty and public safety. It’s a capital expense that must be budgeted for. It’s not cheap, but it’s necessary. And, it enables hotels to operate in a multi-carrier environment.”