Ericsson will offer enhanced connectivity to the stadium via a Wi-Fi network, using the Small Cell Service business model. Visitors to the stadium can use the Wi-Fi and value-added services accessible via a mobile app. The stadium is the home ground of Aviva Premiership rugby team Wasps and Wasps Netball.
“Announcing this relationship with a globally recognized partner such as Ericsson is very exciting and will ensure that we realize our ambition to compete with the best and lead in our respective industry sectors,” David Armstrong, CEO of Wasps Group.
The 10-year agreement allows Ericsson to provide Wasps and the Ricoh Arena with a complete, managed solution, including planning, design, implementation, integration, optimization and maintenance services.
The Ricoh Arena has a 32,609-seater sports stadium, 20,000 square meters of events space, and a 6,000 square meter exhibition hall with a 121-bedroom hotel.
Around 1.2 million people visit the Ricoh Arena each year and use smartphones to share photos and videos via social media, increasing the demand for network capacity.
Ericsson claims to design, plan, build and optimize a carrier-grade Wi-Fi access network, and then manage it for the stadium owner, Wasps Holdings.
The Ericsson Networked Event platform will work for the creation of an app providing location-specific news, information and value-added services.
“Wasps has become the first rugby club to take advantage of Small Cell as a Service, and we have some very exciting ideas about how to evolve our new partnership in the years to come by introducing other innovative solutions from our portfolio,” said Valter D’Avino, head of Region-Western & Central Europe, Ericsson.
The Ricoh Arena’s exhibition venue will now be re-branded as the Ericsson Exhibition Hall.
With reports suggesting that the wireless network infrastructure market will remain relatively flat through 2020, with annual investments of over $61 billion, with the focus shifting from macro layer towards small cells, C-RAN, DAS and carrier Wi-Fi infrastructure.
The company CEO Hans Vestberg, who recently resigned, said that the company will change strategy and adapt to the changing market, investing more into the likes of small cell technology. The vendor is seeking savings of SEK9 billion (€948.2 million) during 2017.
Ericsson shipping small cell solution since the fourth quarter in 2014, has 44 percent of its customers for the small cell solution in Europe, Middle East & Africa, 39 percent of Radio Dot System operators in Asia Pacific Region, and 7 percent in North and South America.