Cellular Radio Frequency Study

To meet the growing needs of cellular coverage area within the UBC community, Campus + Community Planning partnered with TMC IT and Telecom Consulting to commission a cellular radio frequency study. The study aims to determine existing and future coverage needs on campus and how cellular installation requests from telecommunications carriers to install equipment on the Point Grey campus could be more effectively managed, assessed and regulated.


In 2012, UBC partnered with TMC IT and Telecom Consulting to conduct a study in determining existing and future coverage needs on campus and university neighbourhoods. Due to increasing requests for new cellular installations within the campus community and the surging popularity of wireless technology, there were increasing demands for more installations, prompting service providers to seek more locations on campus to serve the growing demand. As a result, service providers are interested in expanding their locations and proposing on to place their equipment on buildings that will provide effective coverage. These are typically rooftops of tall buildings and include university residences, institutional buildings and residential buildings in the university neighbourhoods.

Phases of Studies

The research took place in two phases, each inviting broad participation from the UBC community and discussions with different cellular carriers.

Phase 1

The Phase 1 Cellular Radio Frequency Study Report, completed in 2012, highlights current and future coverage requirements, the process for assessing and regulating requests for new installations and how technological advancements in the telecommunications industry are expected to influence future infrastructure demands.

Key to the process was a desire to meet with stakeholders who are deemed to have influence on the needs or deliverables related to the project.

Phase 2

The Phase 2 Cellular Radio Frequency Study Report, completed in 2013, conducted further detailed assessments and recommendations to improve cellular service on UBC lands. Part of this work involves the engagement of the cellular carriers to participate in long-term planning processes. A better understanding of both current and future coverage needs is required to inform these planning processes.

Key to the processes included collecting input from cell users who were experiencing service gaps on UBC lands and holding discussions with Telus, Rogers, Bell and other carriers.

Next Steps

While the original aims of the project have largely been met, work does need to continue on several items. This includes continuing the dialogue with providers and managing the regulatory aspects of telecommunications requests. 

Close monitoring is still required and new ideas with regard to in-building services are encouraging and need further development. It is likely that ongoing advances in technology will mature to solve some of the coverage problems experienced on campus and UBC neighbourhoods.