MCF stands for Mobile Carrier Forum, and is essentially, an organisation that was formed by the three main carriers in Australia, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. These three carriers wrote this specification document and update it regularly with industry standards. Prior to 2018, the MCF was updated in 2014, and is regularly reviewed to ensure industry trends and requirements of the DAS industry are kept up to date.
The MCF2018 is an industry standard document, its main role is to advise and be used as a guideline for DAS projects. The MCF2018 specification list is not necessarily strict and mandatory as there are things that can be negotiated between the DAS integrator and the carrier. While some elements of the MCF are strict and need to be adhered to, there are some elements that can be negotiated. It is best to speak with the DAS integrator. If the DAS integrator has good relationships with the carriers, they can negotiate on behalf of the building owner or developer with the lead carrier. Therefore, most items in the MCF are standard and mandatory, but there is some room for negotiation.
The lead carrier needs to sign off on the DAS system at two stages, the design stage and the project completion stage.
There are two types of carrier. The lead carrier is the main carrier that is ultimately responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the DAS system. The sharing carrier is a secondary or third carrier that plugs into the DAS system once the project has reached completion and is not responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the DAS. Sharing carriers need approval from the lead carrier before they can connect to the lead carrier DAS.
The lead carrier will sign off after two checkpoints, first after receiving a detailed design of the project. The carrier will either accept, reject the design or require amendments to the design. Secondly, the project completion checkpoint, once the post completion documentation such as, build design, walk test and KPI reports have been submitted, the lead carrier will examine the reports and may perform their own testing, once checked the carrier will sign off on the completion of the project and arrange for connection.
For more information please visit the AMTA website.