A neutral host provider acts as an agent who manages a portfolio of DAS venues. This is generally the most hands-off way to have a DAS installed in your building. Once the lease is negotiated, the neutral host provider will manage the logistics of installation, operation, and maintenance of the DAS. This is appealing to building owners who don’t have the time or staff to oversee the DAS.
As an informed client, the DAS building owner can capitalize on the service that the neutral host provides with minimal involvement. On the other hand, an uninformed client will get the lowest possible percentage of the DAS revenue and may be unhappy with the DAS in their building. There are several ways a neutral host provider can steer the DAS that may not be in the property owner’s best interest.
Since the neutral host provider is building a product to sell, they may be slanting their product toward the most likely customers. The DAS may be designed to support a level of coverage that is only acceptable to one of the Wireless Service Providers (WSPs) or may not meet future requirements of all WSPs for new frequency bands. Meeting these additional requirements may require an upgrade to the DAS, which could be disruptive to building operations or may be cost prohibitive.
Unfortunately, the most likely customer is not always your preferred WSP and you may end up with a DAS for WSP A, while having a year left on your contract with WSP B. To make matters worse, WSP B may have no interest in participating in any DAS led by your neutral host provider.
There are cost cutting measures a neutral host can use that will not impact the marketability of the DAS to the WSP, but may be detrimental to the building owner:
The best way to avoid the potential pitfalls of working with a neutral host provider is to become an informed customer. An informed customer knows the questions to ask, understands the responses, and knows when they are being manipulated. If you don’t have time to research and understand the DAS marketplace, your best bet is to contact us.