Safaricom is piloting new base stations to replace telecommunication towers in a bid to cost costs but also reality of low space for their installations in urban centers.
Known as the TubeStar Base Station, the solution replaces the standard tower base station with a tubular structure that occupies up to 75 per cent less the land typically required. In addition, the TubeStar eliminates the need for a compound and perimeter wall around the base station by incorporating all equipment within the tower structure.
This will see the telco save billions of shillings it spends on land acquisition and erection of security walls. It is estimated that it spends over sh30 billion every year on network expansion.
The technology also eliminates the need for diesel generators by replacing these with high-performance lithium batteries, cutting down on pollution and emissions from network sites.
The first TubeStar was deployed at Clay Works along the Nairobi – Thika Highway and will offer coverage along the Roysambu drift which has long been plagued by call drops.
According to Safaricom, the location exemplifies challenges of providing coverage in urban areas as it is a depression where signals from surrounding base stations converge, resulting in interference and poor connectivity.
The new base station will exclusively provide coverage in the affected locality eliminating reliance on the other cells.
In the last three years to March 2018, Safaricom has invested more than sh100 billion in upgrading and maintaining its network and plans to spend up to sh38 billion in the current year to March 2019.