Ulan Qab: How can the “too tight” communications industry build base stations at low cost and efficiently?

Ulan Qab, which means “Hongshan Yakou” in Mongolian, is a city in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region located to the east of Hohhot. It is 300 kilometers away from Beijing. “The Capital”, “Auspicious Grassland Shenzhou Home”, “China’s Potato Capital”, “Prairie Leather Capital”, “China’s Oat Capital”, “China’s Grassland Yogurt Capital”, “China’s Most Beautiful Health and Leisure Tourism City”, etc.

This beautiful tourist city is characterized by a large area and sparsely populated area. The data shows that its jurisdiction has a total area of ​​54,500 square kilometers and a population of 2.09 million. It takes several hours for C114 editors to travel by car to the county under their jurisdiction. There is no doubt that as a state-owned telecommunications company, it is very difficult to operate communications services here. It is necessary to provide universal communication services for people in remote areas with wide coverage, and to take into account the economic benefits of enterprises as much as possible. All parties in the industry can only take one path-do everything possible to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Here, C114 saw all sorts of weird communication base stations, and heard about the measures to save operating expenses such as electricity bills and field rent, which was an eye-opener. Here, China Tower Ulanqab Branch gives full play to the advantages of overall planning, actively strives for various policy support for the industry, and promotes the implementation of policies to cost savings in all aspects of base station construction and operation, and “low-cost, high-efficiency” station construction The model has been widely recognized by three operators.

Entering 2020, 5G will start large-scale deployment. The three major operators and tower companies announced 5G capital expenditures this year of nearly 200 billion yuan. The industry generally believes that the communications industry will have a “tight life” when the 4G dividend fades. Ulanqab’s low-cost site construction samples provide useful experience and enlightenment for the communications industry in 4G blind repair and rapid deployment of 5G in remote areas.

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In Ulanqab, the base station built by the Tower Company is not a “standard” tower. Wooden poles, cement poles, chimneys, billboards…all objects that can meet the stability and safety of base station equipment can be used to build base stations, as long as they can be more “saving” and “faster.”

In Shizhengfa Village under Quanbuzi Administrative Village, Tunken Team Township, Ulan Qab, Shangdu County, this Yanshan-Taihang Mountain poverty alleviation project is implemented as an immigration resettlement site. The permanent population is about 78 households with 160 people. How to meet users’ communication needs at low cost? C114 saw the oil-wood pole base station, and the tower company used a 12-meter-long oil-wood pole splicing scheme to build the station. The average construction cost was only about 15,000 yuan, which was significantly lower than the conventional station construction method. Moreover, this kind of simple pole is easy to install, the construction period is greatly shortened, and the tower company independently selects the site, and the rent cost is low. The coordinated grid company is close to adopting direct power supply, which greatly reduces the electricity cost of a single base station.

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“Tower Company’s low-cost solutions and service awareness touched us,” said Hu Zhiwen, manager of the network department of China Unicom Ulan Chabu Branch. It was finally decided that the Tower Company would coordinate the construction of 97 Unicom poverty alleviation sites, of which 84 were based on the scenario. The simple construction method using oil-wood poles ensures the construction period while ensuring the quality of the project. “It was originally expected that the two-month construction period was already very tight, but the tower company only took one and a half months to deliver all the leases on time, and cooperate with us to complete the equipment installation and commissioning work, which saved us the cost of communication and coordination and achieved rapid network coverage. Lay a good foundation.”

After the construction of the Yumu pole base station at low cost, China Unicom’s operating costs have been greatly reduced. “It has been estimated that operation and maintenance costs can be saved by 1 million yuan per year. Together with the savings in construction costs, we have achieved a’double savings’: single station rental costs have been reduced by 43%, total costs have been reduced by more than half, and mutual benefit and win-win results can be achieved. Thank you for the support of Tower Company.” Hu Zhiwen said.

In another administrative village, C114 saw the universal service base station constructed by the Tower Company for China Mobile’s Ulanqab branch. The base station is made of two cement poles spliced ​​with flanges, and the height reaches 20 meters. The base station is also connected to the nearby direct power supply. While ensuring low cost, it can meet the communication needs of hundreds of villagers in the entire village.

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Chen Xiangdong, deputy general manager of the Engineering and Construction Department of China Mobile Ulanchabu Branch, introduced that the universal service pilot work is an important political task and an important measure to promote supply-side structural reforms, promote rural revitalization, and fight poverty. It is of great significance. The pilot areas are generally sparsely populated, with high construction costs and low market returns. Operators are under great investment pressure.

“The Tower Company coordinated and undertaken the fourth batch of 127 mobile universal service projects, distributed in 10 banners and counties in Ulan Qab City. The Tower Company has overcome multiple difficulties such as poor geographical environment, difficult construction, difficult project progress, and tight time requirements. Actively coordinate to fight for rent reduction and exemption, and adopt low-cost construction schemes such as cement poles to meet different hanging height needs, which not only guarantees the coverage effect, but also effectively saves costs. All are delivered and completed within two months to help us complete the universal service pilot work. It has greatly improved the capacity of broadband network infrastructure in rural and pastoral areas in Inner Mongolia.” Chen Xiangdong commented.

Mi Yuwei, general manager of China Tower Ulanqab City Branch, has repeatedly expressed his heartfelt feelings about C114. We and the three telecom operators are a community of destiny, a community of responsibility, and a community of interests. “The big river has water and the small river has no water. “Xiaohegan”, so the starting point and end point of all our work is “customer-centric, think about what customers think, and be anxious about what customers want”, and try our best to help customers reduce costs and increase efficiency, and better coordinate development with the industry.

In the urban area of ​​Ulan Qab, C114 editors also saw different base stations such as “chimney station” and “billboard station”. The use of abandoned chimneys with good load-bearing capacity to build the station is safe and economical, and there is no need to repeat construction, and the idle social resources are more fully utilized; “billboard stations”, reuse billboard resources, and use billboards with high terrain , The characteristics of excellent location, can reduce the tower height, and can achieve rapid station construction. It is worth mentioning that these “strange” base stations have been equipped with 5G equipment this year, and they have transformed into 5G base stations at a very low cost.

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“When selecting a site, we try to use topography to reduce tower height, and use social resources such as billboards, monitoring poles, sightseeing towers, chimneys, etc., to efficiently meet construction needs. Ulan Qab City uses chimneys like the base station of Jining City Transportation Company. There are 3 base stations with mounting poles, and the Jiangdong County base station uses 7 base stations with mounting poles on billboards, making full use of social resources and cooperating with operators to reduce costs.” Wei Dongmei, deputy general manager of China Tower Ulanchabu Branch .

Building a base station is more than a technical task

Building a base station is undoubtedly a professional job and requires professional personnel. However, the C114 editor’s visit in Ulan Chabu deeply felt that building a base station is not only a technical task, but also a lot of non-technical work: communication and coordination with various government departments, and power companies to strive for direct power supply to obtain preferential electricity prices. , Negotiating the rent with the owner, publicizing the value of the base station to the masses, and popularizing the electromagnetic radiation of science… These tasks are laborious and have only one ultimate goal: low-cost and high-efficiency construction of the station, the built base station can be maintained for a long time, and continue to play value in the economy and society.

How does the tower company work? Wei Dongmei took universal service as an example. The Tower Company understands that universal service projects have large investments, small returns, and urgent delivery requirements. In order to save customers’ investment as much as possible, the construction methods of cement poles, oil wood poles, etc. are adopted for low-cost and rapid construction in different scenarios. , And promised all zero field rents, negotiated with operators to determine the construction plan, and finally undertook all the requirements for universal service and poverty alleviation base station construction. “During the follow-up construction period, the branch will independently select the location and leverage the government to connect with the Poverty Alleviation Office and the village committee to achieve zero base station rent, and all of them will be delivered on schedule.

It is reported that China Tower Ulanqab Branch has been implementing “employees’ independent location selection” since 2016, linking the completion of location selection with individual monthly performance, and forging the ability to select locations independently. If it is an urban station, try to choose the roof of government office and public land, and the rural station will try to choose the unowned wasteland or the village committee courtyard to strive for free opening. If it is an individual owner, contact the owner by mobilizing contacts to get closer and sign a lease agreement directly with the owner. By creating core advantages that are different from operators’ self-construction and third-party construction, we actively participate in market competition by comparing price and quality, and win customer recognition.

The Tower Company firmly grasps the site selection capability in its own hands and reduces third-party reliance, which is the key to achieving cost savings in all aspects and reducing the problem of dismantling stations. This is another inspiration from C114 Ulanchabu’s trip. In addition, there is one more thing worth mentioning. The Tower Company gives full play to the functions of the communication construction management office, actively seeks government support for the construction of communication infrastructure, and closely connects with the three major operators, and builds stations one by one according to needs. The difficulties encountered in the process provided a system guarantee for low-cost and efficient site construction.

In Ulan Qab, through the independent site selection of the Iron Tower Company and communication and coordination with various departments, the construction of zero-site renting stations has become the norm. With more than 2,900 base stations in the city, with the help of government policy documents, through communication and coordination with owners and other parties, the rent was continuously reduced, with 63% zero rent. Since August 2016, we have achieved full independent site selection with zero site selection fees. In terms of electricity costs, the Tower Company participates in electricity market-oriented transactions and adopts direct power supply methods to continuously reduce base station electricity costs.

With the advent of the 5G era, Ulan Qab also began to deploy 5G to meet the needs of citizens and tourists for high-speed Internet access. Mi Yuwei pointed out that in this year’s 5G construction, the idea of ​​co-construction, sharing, and low-cost construction has been deeply implemented. The tower company has undertaken a total of 274 5G base station needs from operators, all of which are using the tower company’s existing site sites. Hook equipment to achieve.

“This year, our 5G demand tower company will take over all of it, and all of it will be completed through shared stock. Because this batch of projects are all concentrated in urban areas, the construction process has encountered many years of difficult problems, owner disputes, etc., which affect the construction period. Awesome and full cooperation. At present, our first phase of construction tasks have been completed, and we are very satisfied with the Tower Company”, emphasized Chen Xiangdong, deputy general manager of the Engineering Construction Department of China Mobile Ulan Chabu Branch.

In Ulanqab, C114 also noticed a detail: When operators face the network coverage problem of a few users in remote areas, they are not retreating, but expect the tower company to find a way to provide low-cost communication services to the villagers. . China is so big, how difficult it is to do network coverage! Especially when the pressure of 5G investment is huge, and the communication industry is “too tight”. In the vast area of ​​Ulan Qab, the series of operations of the Tower Company can be called a sample, and it also provides new ideas for the deployment of 5G to a wider and deeper area. In remote villages hundreds of kilometers away from the center of Ulan Qab, people can still use communication services, and the value of low-cost and high-efficiency station construction has been truly reflected.