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BT signs up 3 for hidden network points

BT has announced that 3 has become the first mobile operator to take advantage of its new shared antennae system for city centres and 'heritage sites'.

BT's Microconnect Distributed Antenna (MDA) technology is designed to enable mobile network operators to share small, low-powered access points that can be concealed in existing street furniture such as road signs and lamp posts. The advantage to the network operators is that they can ensure greater coverage and signal strength and deliver a wider range of services, including locally-targeted services.

The service will make its debut in Cardiff with BT planning to enable further cities throughout 2005 and 2006.

Signals are carried on a BT Wholesale fibre optic network to a standard telephone exchange housing the mobile operator's own equipment.

'The MDA system saves duplication by mobile network operators such as 3 by using discreet shared, low-power antennas on existing street furniture,' said BT Director Wales, Ann Beynon. 'By housing mobile operators' equipment in our local exchanges, we will minimise and, in some cases, even remove the need for additional roadside cabinets.'

Councillor Mark Stephens, Executive Member for Economic Development and Finance at Cardiff Council, said that the city is ideal for companies wanting to introduce new technologies.

'Major IT providers such as BT are looking upon the capital as a key cost-effective city to pioneer technological advances and it's the people of Cardiff who are the first to benefit,' he said.

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