Better Wireless Coverage in Public Spaces, Advancing the 5G Future — ATIS’ Neutral Host Solution

Although each of us as cellphone users takes it for granted every day, providing cellular coverage in large, publicly managed spaces is a great challenge.  In the places where we gather most — office buildings, multi-tenant apartments or condos, shopping malls and stadiums — all major providers must typically deploy their own small cells dedicated to their own customers in addition to Wi-Fi and unlicensed access.  Besides being highly redundant, these parallel infrastructures are costly and can contribute to visual clutter.  In some cases, physical constraints prevent the deployment of parallel infrastructures.

An innovative new ATIS solution helps operators understand options to deploy a common shared infrastructure in these spaces that all service providers could use. This means, the infrastructure becomes a neutral host not aligned with any specific provider.

Innovation Now — and for the New 5G Network

A neutral host infrastructure not only makes it easier for providers to offer coverage, but also has implications for advancing the objectives for both 5G and the evolution of LTE. ATIS has contributed many solutions to advance a robust 5G network. These are geared toward enhancing the new network’s efficiency, security and service velocity — as well as advancing 5G’s inherent commercial opportunities. As the public uses more data capacity, the wireless infrastructure needs to be brought closer to them.  A neutral host infrastructure can help grow network capacity by improving the logistics and economics of densely deploying small cells.

Nuts and Bolts — and Signals

ATIS’ neutral host vision combines two concepts key to advancing transformation of multi-operator service in public spaces.  The “hosting” aspect refers to an entity that provides resources to clients such as mobile network operators to allow the hosted clients to provide continuous services. “Neutrality” refers to the host acting as a shared platform to multiple hosted clients. Neutrality in this context does not imply strict equality between hosted clients, as the resources offered to each are subject to commercial agreement between the neutral host and the hosted client; policy-based management may be applied.

From a user’s point of view, the system behavior and services using a neutral host’s resources are available without user intervention. Ideally, these should be seamless and identical to those provided by their hosted clients’ dedicated resources. Because neutral hosting provides service equivalence to the user, it can be a viable alternative to conventional dedicated infrastructure.

Not only is ATIS delivering solutions that would potentially allow carriers to reduce operational costs, but our work shows how strong service level agreements between the neutral host and hosted operator client networks will help ensure high-quality and better-managed public connectivity in public settings.

A Simpler, More Efficient Future

“In the ICT environment, many companies have decided that building dedicated computing infrastructure is not essential to their business; instead they rent capacity in commercial clouds, said ATIS President and CEO Susan Miller.  “Neutral hosts bring benefits similar to those of a cloud environment to the provision of mobile network coverage and help operators attain levels of service not viable through other approaches.”

ATIS’ neutral host solution can also help to improve wireless coverage to meet exceptional demand in spaces without the infrastructure to provide decent coverage, such as festivals, concerts, or other types of gatherings. Neutral hosts support disaster recovery efforts by reducing the infrastructure re-build needed to enable services to users subscribed to multiple operators. Whatever the venue or setting, the goal is to deliver impeccable wireless connectivity, a first-rate consumer experience, and make the solution easy to deploy by taking the complexity out of the engineering it takes to install.

ATIS’ work dovetails into work currently taking place in other bodies such as 3GPP, MulteFire and the Small Cell Forum, which are developing technical solutions and business models to support neutral host solutions.

The ICT industry is now looking at a future in which it can build the infrastructure as an operator would to deliver wireless in managed spaces without having it be operator-specific.

Learn more about ATIS’ Neutral Host solution in our white paper, Neutral Host Solutions for Multi-Operator Wireless Coverage in Managed Spaces.  This comprehensive resource offers neutral host providers and solutions vendors a reference to understand the options available for these solutions as well as how to best implement them.

Iain Sharp has over 20 years experience in the mobile communications industry and served two periods as vice-chairman of the 3GPP CT Plenary. He is the director of Netovate, an independent consultancy with a mission to provide clients with a commercial advantage through an understanding of communications technology developments, particularly in the standards sphere.


About ATIS

As a leading technology and solutions development organization, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) brings together the top global ICT companies to advance the industry’s most critical business priorities. ATIS’ 150 member companies are currently working to address 5G, the all-IP transition, network functions virtualization, big data analytics, cloud services, the ICT implications of Smart Cities, emergency services, IoT, cyber security, network evolution, quality of service, billing support, operations, and much more. These priorities follow a fast-track development lifecycle – from design and innovation through standards, specifications, requirements, business use cases, software toolkits, open source solutions, and interoperability testing.

ATIS is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ATIS is the North American Organizational Partner for the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a founding Partner of the oneM2M global initiative, a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as well as a member of the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL). For more information, visit

About SIP Forum

The SIP Forum is an IP communications industry association that engages in numerous activities that promote and advance SIP-based technology, such as the development of industry recommendations, the SIPit, SIPconnect-IT and RTCWeb-it interoperability testing events, special workshops, educational seminars, and general promotion of SIP in the industry. The SIP Forum is also the producer of the annual SIPNOC conferences (for SIP Network Operators Conference), focused on the technical requirements of the service provider community. One of its notable technical activities is the development of the SIPconnect Technical Recommendation – a standards-based SIP trunking recommendation that provides detailed guidelines for direct IP peering and interoperability between IP PBXs and SIP-based service provider networks. Other important Forum initiatives include work in Fax-over-IP interoperability, User Agent Configuration, Video Relay Service interoperability, security, NNI, and SIP and IPv6. For more information, please visit:

About Neustar

Every day, the world generates roughly 2.5 quadrillion bits of data. Neustar (NYSE: NSR) isolates certain elements and analyzes, simplifies and edits them to make precise and valuable decisions that drive results. As one of the few companies capable of knowing with certainty who is on the other end of every interaction, we're trusted by the world's great brands to make critical decisions some 20 billion times a day. We help marketers send timely and relevant messages to the right people. Because we can authoritatively tell a client exactly who is calling or connecting with them, we make critical real-time responses possible. And the same comprehensive information that enables our clients to direct and manage orders also stops attackers. We know when someone isn't who they claim to be, which helps stop fraud and denial of service before they're a problem. Because we're also an experienced manager of some of the world's most complex databases, we help clients control their online identity, registering and protecting their domain name, and routing traffic to the correct network address. By linking the most essential information with the people who depend on it, we provide more than 12,000 clients worldwide with decisions—not just data. More information is available at