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Cel-Fi selected to improve 3G / 4G / 5G cellular coverage at retail store chain

The projections for a robust retail segment this year are good. The National Retail Federation is forecasting retail sales in the U.S. could grow anywhere between 6.5 percent and 8.2 percent this year; and 50 million square feet of new retail space is anticipated to open this year, according to tracking by Coresight Research.

This projected growth is happening alongside a growing trend of retailers depending on cellular connectivity more than ever for efficient operations, customer satisfaction, and increased sales. Traditionally retail stores have wanted cellular coverage for customers to improve experience,  aid in system redundancy in the event their IT systems went down, and improve customer safety in parking garages.  Today mobile pay, shopping delivery app services that require pickers to use their mobile phones to shop, and shop online with curbside app check-in and  pick-up are also driving the need for expanded cellular coverage in stores.

One example of the convergence between projected retail sector growth and demand for cellular coverage in stores is a major national retailer that opened smaller format 25,000 square foot retail stores in sub-ground locations in New York. As the store locations are essentially concrete bunkers, employees and customers could not get a cellular signal when inside the stores. Employees missed emergency calls and important communications. Customers could not log onto the in-store app while shopping to find items quickly or identify those that were on sale.

The retail chain hired UberSignal, a Pittsburg-based provider of cellular booster solutions, to fix the problem of poor cellular reception.

“Now that carriers are not subsidizing the cost of in-building DAS systems nearly as much as they used to, we’re finding overall cost of providing in-store cellular coverage is always very important – not just the initial cost, but the continued operational costs of it and the deployment time. A traditional active DAS can take 18 months to deploy, and a lot of facilities can’t wait that long,” explains Dan Morin, co-owner of UberSignal.

UberSignal chose to install the Cel-Fi QUATRA active DAS hybrid to solve the coverage problems experienced by the national retailer within their budget. QUATRA delivers a cellular signal that is up to 1000x stronger than analog boosters and Bi-Directional (BDA) Passive DAS systems on the market, offering a much larger coverage footprint for multi-carrier voice and data on 3G/4G/5G networks.

For the retail outlets, two to three installers were deployed for each on-site installation. “It took about three weeks for each store. Normally, a Cel-Fi installation is quite a bit quicker than that, but these were challenging installs because we were retrofitting it into a store that was already set up with shelving and very specific requirements for using conduit, painting it to match everything else, and basically blending into the environment,” says Morin. “Since the Cel-Fi QUATRA systems were installed, cellular reception has been very good inside each outlet. The occupants are very happy with the ability to use their cell phones for texting and phone calls as needed.”

For more information on how Cel-Fi QUATRA can be used to rapidly and cost-effectively provide improved in-building cellular coverage for subscribers in the expanding retail and grocery chain segment, join the pre-recorded webinar “Cel-Fi Products delivery 3G, 4G and 5G Coverage to Grocery Stores & Retail Spaces”.

About the Author

Dean Richmond is the Senior Director of Marketing at Nextivity. Over the span of his career, he has developed strategies and launched products across the information technology and wireless product spectrum. Dean has built strategic partnerships between channel partners, operators, broadband providers, and brands such as Microsoft, Google, Intel, Sony, and Toshiba to grow business units successfully. For more information, contact [email protected] or visit www.cel-fi-com

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