Arqiva boosts wifi coverage with Spectrum Interactive acquisition

Communications infrastructure and media services firm Arqiva has agreed terms with UK wifi operator Spectrum Interactive to acquire the firm outright for £23.4m.

Arqiva said that the deal will enable it to enhance its indoor coverage activity by acquiring a wifi portfolio.

Nicolas Ott, managing director for government, mobile and enterprise at Arqiva, explained that the firm has been offering indoor wifi coverage on a wholesale basis to landlords and mobile operators for the past ten years.

“Landlords have been asking us to install indoor mobile coverage solutions in big business centres and we have done that, and MNOs have asked us to do it because it’s sometimes better for them to use that infrastructure for activating their own network,” he explained.

He added that in recent months, an increasing number of landlords and MNOs have been asking the firm to do more on terms of indoor wifi coverage, due to the fast pace of growth of mobile data usage indoors, particularly in dense urban areas.

Growth in smartphones and mobile enabled devices along with faster download speeds has led to a significant increase in the demand for mobile data services: this demand is forecast to continue to rise yearly by around 65 per cent per annum between 2011 and 2016.

“We wanted to do more, but we lacked scale do it. It was a a challenge to grow organically to be at the level we were asked to be, so that’s why the Spectrum Interactive acquisition makes a lot of sense because we’re acquiring a technology that has a significant wifi portfolio already, but also a good management team, staff and operations,” said Ott.

“We value their capacity to roll out wifi in indoor situations, where it’s complex to install wifi kits and it is the safest solution to accelerate mobile data indoor coverage.”

It is intended that all employees of Spectrum Interactive will join Arqiva.

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