Dragon Tower delivers 5G at Hawaii Army base

A new tower constructed by Boingo Wireless, in partnership with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, is delivering improved cellular coverage to service members and families on Helemano Military Reservation (HMR).

The tower is on the grounds of the Exchange’s HMR Express store in the center of the reservation and nicknamed “Dragon” for the 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, which is headquartered on HMR and uses a dragon as part of its insignia.

dragon cell tower hawaii
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service hosted a ribbon-cutton ceremony for the tower earlier this week.  (U.S. Army)

Boingo designed, constructed and manages the tower, which supports both Verizon and AT&T, with T-Mobile connectivity planned by the end of the year, according to a Boingo spokesperson. It’s one of 13 new or in-progress cell towers; 12 more are in the works.

“We’re extremely proud to work with the Exchange and base leaders to simplify complex tower deployments and build a remarkable 13 new cell towers in Hawaii,” said Rebecca Gray, SVP and general manager, military at Boingo Wireless, in a statement. “These towers, all with Tier One carrier service, will dramatically enhance much-needed cellular connectivity for base operations, and all those working and living on base.”

Located on the island of Oʻahu, HMR offers military housing for about 2,000 service members and families stationed at Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield. The HMR celebrated the tower with a ribbon cutting ceremony earlier this week.

"This infrastructure will provide our Soldiers and their families with reliable access to emergency services, facilitate communication with loved ones, and support the seamless conduct of daily business," said 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion – Enhanced Commander Lt. Col. Izabella Lundy in a statement.

In a separate press release, Verizon called out its “consistent contract wins” with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and Department of Defense and described the Dragon Tower as part of a $1 million project.

Boingo started out managing Wi-Fi at airports and expanded into many other areas, including distributed antenna systems (DAS), small cells and Wi-Fi offload. More than 10 years ago, the company started striking contracts to improve connectivity on military bases, and it now offers internet service at more than 85 Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Homeland Security Training Center locations worldwide.