Macropolitan, the UK’s largest owner of urban site rights, has teamed up with Alcatel-Lucent to move a step closer to achieving national WiMAX coverage. Antennas on the roofs of hotels, offices and even gyms could hold the key to creating a nationwide WiMAX network for the UK, according to transmission site developer Macropolitan. The company has signed a deal with Alcatel-Lucent to provide access to its 8,900 antenna sites across the UK. According to the companies, the idea is to provide an operator with a ‘turn key’ service that could be rolled out without the need to set up equipment, acquire sites or even obtain planning consent.
Most of the Macropolitan sites are in or around cities: the company has signed leases for mast sites with the Travelodge and Premier Travel Inn hotel chains, gym operators David Lloyd Leisure and Fitness First, and Network Rail. ‘Our network is not national, in the sense of covering the entire population,’ said Macropolitan’s chief executive Ryan Jarvis. ‘But we are in every city and almost every town. The deal with Alcatel-Lucent is for our entire portfolio, so it can build a multi-city network.’ The deal has, however, lead to speculation that Alcatel-Lucent has lined up a significant customer to deploy WiMAX.