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Huawei TubeStar opens a new mode for urban macro station construction


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Site acquisition has always been a common problem faced by mobile telecommunication operators. The footprint of a traditional site needs a large area and the site acquisition approval process is long.

As 5G approaches, the problem becomes even more urgent to resolve. In order to achieve the maximal speed rate of 10Gpbs, 5G introduces more new spectrum and new technologies. The Massive MIMO (50KG) challenges the load-bearing of existing towers; the introduction of high-frequency (C-Band, mmWave) needs site densification. So how to speed up site acquisition and construction?

Speeding up site acquisition and construction

Take South Africa as an example, the average distance between site is about 0.8km-1km, it is twice compared to the typical carriers in Thailand and China. With the further development of 4G and the coming of 5G, it is urgent to add more sites. In addition, the green field site accounts for 80% of the total sites in South Africa that is different from other countries like in Thailand which has only 20%.


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Greenfield site


The green field site has associated problems of high Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and many approval processes. The traditional green field macro station includes a lattice tower, equipment room and fence. The footprint needs 50 to 100 square meters, the construction cost and rental is normally very high. In addition, the approval process for South African green field sites requires up to five different  authorisations (these Include CAA-Civil Aviation Authorization, EA-Environmental Authorisation, LU-Land Use/Consent use, BP-Building Plan, EMF-Electromagnetic Radiation Analysis). The approval time is up to seven months.

Reducing challenges of site acquisition and TCO


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TubeStar deployed by MTN SA


In order to solve the problem of site acquisition, MTN South Africa and Huawei jointly deployed the TubeStar solution for the first time. TubeStar is Huawei’s new “Zero Footprint Macro Site” solution. Using the concept of One Site One Pole, it can bring the following benefits:

  1. Reduce the cost of site construction: All equipment is built in a Pole. The pipe body serves as a cabinet. The vertical space is used to house radio frequency, baseband and transmission and battery equipment. The equipment room, fence, cabinet, etc. are no longer needed. The pole diameter is only 0.8 meters and the site footprint is only 2 square meters, a reduction of more than 90%. This impacts site rental fees which can reduce greatly;
  2. Simplify and speed up site acquisition: TubeStar is environmentally friendly, has a small footprint size, and easy to acquire on site; in addition, South Africa’s customized 15m version can avoid aviation approval and further accelerate site acquisition;
  3. Support rapid site deployment: support equipment and cable pre-installation, from infrastructure excavation to on air only 10 days;
  4. Support 5G evolution: support 5 -7 bands of GSM / UMTS / LTE. The Towercos version supports two operators to share for 10 -14 bands; supporting smooth 5G evolution.

Since its launch in 2018, TubeStar has been piloted and deployed in 15 countries including Brazil, Bolivia and Russia. TubeStar’s innovative design was awarded the “Green Mobile Award” by the GSMA in 2018. It is recognized and affirmed by the industry.

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TubeStar Solution Wins GSMA’s Green Mobile Award

Cao Ming, vice president of Huawei’s wireless network product line, said: “Huawei’s innovative zero footprint base station TubeStar can solve the three challenges of high deployment cost, difficult site acquisition and low efficiency of building stations. Huawei has always been committed to providing innovative solutions that meet the actual needs of customers and create value for customers. At the same time, in the solution design, Huawei adheres to the concept of sustainable development of green environmental protection, so that technology and the environment are more harmonious.” | Huawei Corporate Press Office.