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Streetwave creates mobile network performance maps to continuously monitor and check the quality of the UK’s 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G networks

Tell us about your start up?
Streetwave offers clients the ability to understand the coverage and quality of the mobile networks they depend on both professionally and personally.

The Company’s software enables our customers to see coverage insights along nearly every road on a highly granular metre by metre basis. It also identifies how the networks change on a weekly basis in the areas they are interested in.

This coverage data is visualised on a GIS to easily see how the networks perform along different buildings, streets and communities. Streetwave has purposefully made the data easy to understand and take action with, for those with no telecoms experience. The Company’s web application allows users to answer simple questions including ‘can I make a phone call?’ or ‘can I stream a HD video?’. Alternatively, customers can dive into further detail with metrics including download speeds or RSRP if they feel comfortable.

Streetwave is currently mapping mobile coverage for tower companies, private business owners and municipal governments. The data is then used to identify the best networks to use and areas where coverage improvements need to be made. We are working with organisations across both the UK and Canada.

Why did you establish the business?
Streetwave was established to tackle the significant issues that arise when government, businesses and individuals don’t understand the coverage quality of the mobile networks that they depend upon.

Everyone knows the importance of the mobile networks. Smart phones allow us to do our banking, shopping, socialising, working, navigation, payments and socialising in the palm of our hands. All of these use cases require digital connectivity to function properly though. Resultantly, as mobile coverage in a country increases by 10%, its GDP will also increase by 1%.

While pricing for mobile data in the UK is competitive compared to the US or Canada, users of the mobile networks are still unable to understand the coverage they will receive on their deals. The coverage checkers on operator’s websites are models that estimate coverage without measuring it on the ground. This can lead to disparities between predicted coverage and actual network performance. While this data can also be crowd sourced, crowdsourcing will often leave large holes in coverage data sets as phones can only intermittently measure network performance in the locations they are in.

This causes issues for consumers. The average cost of a 12-month mobile contract was £566.40 in 2021. This is only going up with inflationary pressures. Many consumers commit to long-term contracts, only to bring their phones back to their homes/offices to find they can’t get coverage. Around 10% of mobile customers in the UK remain unhappy with their mobile contracts.

This is also a problem for every business that depends on the mobile networks for some aspect of their service delivery. For example, electric car charging stations are essential infrastructure for the government’s plans to replace petrol/diesel cars by 2030. However, many require users to connect to an app to pay digitally before charging. When these sites are built in areas with no signal, people are unable to make payment to charge their vehicles. Understanding mobile coverage at charging sites is therefore a vital prerequisite before building begins.

Furthermore, this issue affects government. Ambiguous coverage data will make it difficult for the UK Home Office to assess whether the new Emergency Services Network has the necessary coverage to consistently keep first responders connected before its switch on. It can also cause difficulties for regulators like Ofcom when they are seeking to assess coverage claims.

What is your USP?
The detail of Streetwave’s data is unparalleled. We are able to offer coverage insights along every road and building in areas of interest for our customers. In these locations, customers can see which mobile networks are available, which operators offer the best or worst connectivity and which network generations are available to them.

This data is also regularly refreshed to stay up to date and our visualisation platform makes the data easily accessible to anyone. Furthermore, the Company still have the flexibility as a start-up to tailor our offering to the needs of our customers.

What is your relationship with the telecom sector?
We work directly with tower companies, collecting data to improve their site selection. We also work with MVNOs to help them better understand which operator to lease infrastructure from. Our data can also be used by MNOs for their marketing and by regulators to check coverage claims.

How have you got to your current stage of development?
As a team we were fortunate to have been hosted by an incubator called the Alacrity Foundation for the first 15 months of building up Streetwave. The Alacrity Foundation is a Newport based charity that is actively building the next generation of UK communications and cyber start-ups. The Foundation brings together business and computer science graduates and presents them with real industry problems that need solving.

Our team were presented with the challenge of building a solution that democratises access to high fidelity mobile coverage intelligence for people and businesses. Each co-founder received a stipend during the programme that allowed us to focus fully on developing Streetwave. Alacrity also supported us in meeting investors as the 15-month programme ended.

Recognising the significance of the challenge Streetwave is solving, we were able to attract a seed investment round led by the Wesley Clover investment group. Wesley Clover also support Streetwave through more than just capital investment. They have given us free office space, access to an experienced designer and used their international presence to help us enter the North American market. The team is further complemented by two successful industry veterans who have joined our board as Non-Exec Directors.

Who inspired you?

Something that has surprised us as a team is just how generous people in the industry have been in lending us time and advice. If we were to list all of the people who have gone out of their way to support us, we would probably have a list that is 100 names long! These people continue to inspire us through both the intelligence they have earned through past successes and the modesty they retain in their willingness to give back to others.

What does the future hold for your business?
We will continue to expand the areas where we map mobile network performance. Our aim is to map the coverage along every address in the UK in the coming years so that everyone can understand the best networks to use in the places they live, work and leisure in. We will also look to continue our expansion into the North American and European markets.

HEADQUARTERS: Newport – Wales
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 5
LAST FUNDING TYPE: Seed Funding
WEBSITE URL: https://streetwave.co/
FOUNDERS
Angus Hay – CEO and Co-Founder
George Gibson – Operations Director and Co-Founder
Dylan Hampton – Product Director and Co-Founder
Nick Broom – Technical Director and Co-Founder

You can meet Streetwave in the Startup Village at Connected Britain: London 20-21 September 2022. Register at www.totaltele.com/connectedbritain

 

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