Sweet mobile signal solution in a Hotel Chocolat distribution centre

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The Challenge

Amplify mobile signal on all mobile networks
20,000 m² in-door area to cover
Metal cladding creates Faraday cage setting

The Product

Business Benefits

  • Under 2-week installation
  • Full signal across the whole expanse
  • Connect to team conference calls on their mobile devices

Business Profile

Hotel Chocolat promises to fulfil every delivery on time every time. Employees were experiencing dropped calls and poor data connection inside the distribution centre due to the materials used on the outside of the building. During the expansion into the adjacent building which further increased the size of the distribution centre, Hotel Chocolate addressed the issue of in-building mobile connectivity.

Business Needs

In August 2020, the Hotel Chocolate created 200 new jobs by increasing the production and distribution capacity of its operations at their ‘Alpha’ distribution centre in St Neots, Cambridgeshire. The floor size nearly doubled when they took over and expanded into a neighbouring warehouse.

The Challenge

The distribution centre is covered in metal cladding which presents a classic Faraday cage setting. Coupled with the sheer vastness of the distribution centre, mobile signal inside the building was poor. Employees were unable to use their mobile devices to make a phone call, receive a text or download a communication unless they stepped outside.

Hotel Chocolat had previously attempted to resolve the mobile signal issues by installing network-provided boosters. Although it initially provided some marginal improvements in certain areas of the building, much of the warehouse still suffered from no coverage. After the expansion, the size of the building presented an additional challenge that the network-provided boosters could not resolve.

The Solution

Hotel Chocolat found Frequency Telecom on an online search. From the outset, their requirements were clear; the solution had to be legal, it had to cover all networks and it had to cover the entire warehouse.

Frequency consulted with the client to determine their business requirements and timelines. After an in-depth analysis of the site, building and layout plans, an initial solution was presented, subject to a site inspection.

The site survey at St Neots concluded that there was very little or no mobile signal within the distribution centre but sufficiently good signal outside. The Cel-Fi Quatra solution was presented as the solution to deliver the level of mobile coverage required across all networks. This solution comprised of:

  • 12 x Network Units (NUs)
  • 44 x Coverage Units (CUs)
  • 8 x external MIMO antennas

Frequency contracted ZoneWave to perform the installation. The installation was overseen by the main contractor WSP who also controlled the strict HSE requirements for the site.

Installation was completed in under 2 weeks and the warehouse was now enjoying full signal across the whole expanse. Feedback following the installation has been very positive. Employees can now connect to team conference calls on their mobile devices which they have never been able to do before.

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