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Distributed antenna systems are gaining traction as an alternative way for carriers to fill in coverage or add more capacity to the wireless network when new cellsites are not an option. It has also quickly become a way for smaller carriers trying to get to market quickly. However, these small antennas that usually sit on top of utility poles face their own challenges in an unsettled regulatory environment.  DAS providers typically like to piggyback other carriers on a project to make it feasible.  A rule of thumb is for 2.5 carriers are typically used by DAS business teams before the project is feasible to build.  As a rule of thumb, it takes between three and five DAS nodes to equal the coverage carriers can get from one cellular macro site.  DAS solutions work in tandem with macro cellular tower builds, rather than compete with them. DAS networks are often used by service providers that cannot get siting permission for a traditional tower, for carriers that want better in-building coverage, or to expand capacity and coverage in a particular area. They are also used by carriers with less spectrum that want to get to market quickly like Leap Wireless International IncMetroPCS Communications Inc. and Cox Wireless.   The two largest DAS system companies leading the industry are highlighted below.

NextG Networks designs, permits, builds, operates and manages DAS Networks. The DAS-Networks are protocol-neutral, to support multiple wireless carriers, services, and technologies. NextG provides RF transport and backhaul services to service providers over discrete, multi-frequency, scalable networks that improve the quality, coverage, and capacity of any wireless service. NextG Networks is headquartered in San Jose, CA and operates regional subsidiaries throughout the United States. The company has raised over $560M since 2008.

Extenet Systems designs, builds and operates network infrastructure - primarily using distributed antenna systems. ExteNet is technologically adaptable – which means they can operate CDMA, GSM, UMTS, 3G and 4G within each fiber network that we deploy. They are adept at designing, implementing and operating fiber networks to extend their network’s traditional sites into hard-to-zone areas, or to places where you do not have coverage. Their fiber networks could also be a reasonable backhaul solution for wireless service providers. The company has raised over $156M in Venture Capital since 2008.

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