Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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HomeDAS & In Building WirelessNew deals turn BAI into global infrastructure provider

New deals turn BAI into global infrastructure provider

BAI Communications recently made a pair of moves to elevate itself as a global infrastructure provider, Inside Towers reports.

The company signed an agreement with Transport for London (TfL) to provide the city’s subway system with wireless communications. BAI also provides wireless communications for subway and transit systems in major cities like New York, Toronto and Hong Kong.

Along with the TfL deal, BAI acquired Mobilitie, a Newport, CA-based neutral host operator.

“London, is still to this day, probably one of the biggest cities in the world where you don’t have such [transit wireless] coverage,” BAI Group CEO Igor Leprince told Inside Towers.
BAI will design, build and implement a city-wide integrated communication network that brings multi-carrier cellular, Wi-Fi and fiber connectivity as part of the $1.4 billion, 20-year concession contract. With BAI as the neutral host, TfL’s network will be 4G/5G-ready for fixed and mobile operators, paving the way for London to become a smart city.

Meanwhile, BAI’s wireless network will bring 4G/5G coverage to the London tube’s 170 stations and more than 200 tunnels, Inside Towers reports. Additionally, above ground, the network incorporates approximately 100,000 streetscape assets such as bus stops, light poles, small cell support structures for 5G coverage and capacity in a dense urban environment. Looking ahead, the network will enable IoT (Internet of Things) smart city use cases and applications by combining 5G small cells and fiber. BAI will also build and operate the U.K.’s emergency network for police, ambulance and fire services in the tube.

In parallel, BAI will build and operate in the tube the U.K.’s emergency services network for police, ambulance and fire services.

“It’s really a project that combines almost all the aspects of what we do with strategy,” Leprince told Inside Towers. “It’s our core transit communications, (like) what we do in New York, in Canada. It is 5G outdoors with streetscape. Its neutral host, it’s fiber and in the future, smart cities. And that’s why it’s a big and exciting project for us for sure.”

Mobilitie Alignment a ‘fantastic opportunity’

Leprince also acknowledged BAI’s acquisition of Mobilitie is significant because “it aligns perfectly with our core business and our vision for our companies.” Mobilitie is a neutral host communication infrastructure provider and has towers and a small cell portfolio across 45 states. The company also has vast experience with Seattle and San Francisco’s transit systems.

“Mobilitie fits right into the core BAI transit communication pillar of our strategy,” Leprince said. “They also have (large) venues. They are at scale across the U.S. And that is a huge portfolio set of capabilities they are bringing to us that we want to continue to accelerate in the U.S. but also replicate around the world, in the U.K., Europe, Canada and other places.

“(The acquisition) is good for BAI, it’s definitely good for Mobilitie because we’re going to try to supercharge our (combined) growth and good for customers, especially our U.S. customers, because suddenly, we have scope and scale and backup of shareholders that I think will work well for all the parties. Absolutely, it brings capability on a national scale, and the presence that we didn’t have.”

A chance to grow

Leprince told Inside Towers he sees opportunities for BAI to engage more cities in TfL-like projects and programs, given how the upcoming London project lets the company build the foundation and connectivity for smart city or smart community applications.

“We see very strong driving opportunity in the U.S., in the U.K., in the markets where we are,” he said. “That’s definitely a key part of our strategy going forward. This public-private partnership is what we’re good at.”

The executive noted that BAI is versatile, which is ideal since no one size fits all.

“We can build, operate, and transfer. We can build and operate. We can own,” Leprince told Inside Towers. “The model differs in rural areas, in cities, for small and large enterprises, above ground or underground. We are very open, and beyond that, we have shareholders that allow us to do (project) financing and funding that makes us unique. We will stay open to these different models, depending on what the customers want.”

Joe Dyton can be reached at joed@fifthgenmedia.com.

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