Nokia and Telefónica Chile have completed what they claim is the largest indoor deployment of small cells at the Costanera shopping center in Santiago, Chile. Nokia replaced and upgraded the existing distributed antenna system (DAS) with a high-capacity, high-coverage Flexi Zone small cells network.
The shopping centre serves 110,000 visitors every day, all of whom want to be able to make voice and video calls, share images and access the Internet. The shopping and food outlets are spread across six floors comprising some 168,000 m2 of retail floorspace and multiple parking levels.
The Costanera center presented a challenge for operators to provide high-quality mobile coverage to thousands of visitors, particularly deep within the building, as the thick reinforced concrete structure can hinder radio signals from the operator's macro network.
Nokia deployed its Flexi Zone small cells technology, which provided a cost-effective alternative to DAS, offering faster data speeds and supporting a higher number of subscribers. Ease of deployment and the ability to upgrade 3G small cells to 4G LTE will allow Telefónica Chile to efficiently scale capacity as customer demand continues to evolve.
The Flexi Zone indoor Pico BTS are able to simultaneously meet demands of up to 4,400 active 3G and 4G LTE users per shopping floor, while the Flexi Zone Micro BTS were installed to serve areas of lower demand such as car park areas. Nokia’s Services for HetNets expertise was used to help plan small cells in the right locations, and deploy them cost effectively.
Dimitri Diliani, head of Latin America Market at Nokia, said: "This project is a great example of how operators can benefit from using the Nokia Flexi Zone small cell family to meet the demands of mobile device users in a high-traffic indoor environment.
“The size of our small cells means they are unobtrusive in locations such as this while delivering huge capacity. They manage the demands of the surrounding area in which they are deployed, so in this instance can handle interference from the outdoor macro network ensuring that all subscribers remain on the dedicated indoor small cell network, even when near the edge of the building."