Mobile communications; Mobile communications;

Heathrow T5 Integrated Mobile Communications, Heathrow

Developing a common mobile infrastructure for Terminal 5

In 2000 Arup was appointed by BAA to develop the strategy for the provision of mobile communications services at Heathrow, to design and deliver the infrastructure required to do so, and to provide support setting up commercial and contractual arrangements with the relevant parties.

Previously at Heathrow, individual mobile operators had installed their own infrastructure, resulting in duplication and proliferation of infrastructure across the airport, standards of installation that varied, unreliable records, and unsightly clutter to the terminal landscape.

Similarly a number of Private Mobile Radio (PMR) service users, including the emergency services, control authorities and BAA itself, had historically installed and used their own independent infrastructures.

It was jointly agreed by BAA and Arup that the most appropriate solution for the new terminal was common infrastructure that could be shared by multiple parties. We worked closely with all the relevant stakeholders from day one to realise the full potential for infrastructure sharing and to ensure the solution was aligned to their individual requirements.

The project was awarded the 2009 Management Consultancies Association Award for Technology.

The shared infrastructure solution was a pioneering, ambitious alternative to the historic, laissez-faire provision of mobile communications services in airports, drawing on Arup’s radio technology expertise and experience in commercial transactions.

The successful implementation of a shared Cellular and PMR infrastructure at T5 has:

  • Reduced the cost of delivering services for both BAA and the service providers

  • Simplified and improved BAA’s management of mobile communications infrastructure, health and safety, and security issues around maintenance

  • Ensured both cellular and PMR services are available in and around the new building

  • Prevented the duplication and proliferation of infrastructure

  • Allowed the infrastructure to be incorporated seamlessly into the fabric of the building.

The shared infrastructure model has now been adopted by BAA as the template for cellular and PMR services at all new and refurbished airport terminals.