The MCF2023 Draft Design Specification for Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) marks a significant step forward from the MCF2018 guidelines, originally tailored for the 3G and 4G era.

As technology continues to evolve, the new specification aims to accommodate the burgeoning needs of 5G technology. The MCF2023 specification is currently under consultation, inviting feedback from various stakeholders to refine and finalise the guidelines by mid-2024. And this update will be crucial for mobile carriers, network infrastructure and technology providers, property groups and their tenants to provide advanced mobile connectivity.

BAI Communications (BAI), experienced in delivering high-quality connectivity solutions for buildings, tunnels, stadiums and other congested or hard to cover areas, has welcomed the opportunity to provide input on the draft. BAI applauds the progress made in the updated specification and has shared key recommendations for enhancing this draft further.


  • Define and recognise the role third party shared infrastructure providers can play in deployment and maintenance of DAS infrastructure, with guiding principles on facilities access and maintenance for carrier connection to shared infrastructure led deployments.
  • Commitment from all sharing carriers for technical acceptance of designs, if the lead carrier has accepted and approved a DAS design as being compliant with the MCF DAS Specification.
  • Define solution categories that consider building details and capacity dimensioning based on type of building, area and user density, to provide clear guidance to buildings owners and designers on appropriate solution types and MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) and SISO (Single Input Single Output) support.

In its’ submission, BAI advocates the importance of third-party shared infrastructure providers in DAS deployment and maintenance. A shared infrastructure provider is an independent player that builds, owns, maintains, and operates the network infrastructure and shares the infrastructure on an open access basis to multiple mobile network operators and other operators on a shared tenant basis. This approach enhances efficiency, reduces costs and expands coverage, ensuring high-quality outcomes and lower risks for all stakeholders.

From our experience internationally, shared infrastructure providers have proven to be particularly beneficial in high-demand areas such as stadiums, large commercial venues, shopping centres, hospitals, universities, and airports where they provide robust and reliable wireless connectivity regardless of the user’s carrier.

Other markets have embraced and incorporated the shared infrastructure model in specifications, for example, the UK has established the Joint Operators Technical Specification (JOTS) that delineates the role of shared infrastructure contractors in delivering a full turnkey solution, including the ongoing maintenance of the DAS.

The proposed specification, however, only defines the roles of carriers and lead carrier, which may restrict the options for building owners to appoint a shared infrastructure provider as their preferred partner for delivery and maintenance of the DAS.

BAI also recommends that the specification should clarify the responsibilities of the lead carrier to ensure a more straightforward process for technical acceptance. And further suggests that if a lead carrier approves a DAS design as compliant with the MCF specifications, all other sharing carriers should also accept this design. This would facilitate a more efficient approval process, reducing complexity, cost, and redundant assessments.

To align with the practical realities of DAS deployment, BAI proposes a more detailed definition of hybrid DAS architectures and a consistent approach within a single sector that avoids mixing passive and active designs. BAI advises that by providing explicit guidance on suitable DAS solutions based on building types, area, and user density building owners and designers will be enabled to make informed decisions about the appropriate solutions, including MIMO and SISO configurations. This will facilitate appropriate capacity delivery from the outset while avoiding incorrect budgeting and unnecessary consultations.

Further to the shared infrastructure model for DAS infrastructure, MNOs globally are also embracing this approach for Radio Access Networks (RAN) connecting to in-building coverage solutions. A DAS requires each MNO to individually deploy RAN equipment along with separate backhaul links to their core networks, at each premises, to enable mobile network connectivity. A shared infrastructure provider can manage this process on behalf of MNOs for rapid activation of mobile coverage over new DAS infrastructure. This model can achieve significant savings in connection costs for multi-carrier coverage by using standardised O-RAN equipment and centralised point of interconnect to MNO core networks.

In conclusion, BAI’s feedback on the MCF2023 Draft aims to refine the specification, ensuring it meets the diverse needs of the industry while promoting efficient and innovative connectivity solutions. By emphasising the role of shared infrastructure providers, BAI believes that the industry can achieve higher service quality and greater consumer choice. BAI’s input underscores the potential for the shared infrastructure model to streamline DAS deployment and operation, enhancing outcomes for all parties involved.

As the consultation phase progresses, BAI remains committed to working closely with AMTA and other stakeholders to ensure that the final MCF2023 specification provides a robust framework for the future of DAS infrastructure in Australia.

For more details, visit the AMTA consultation page.