- TPG Telecom has developed a prefabricated modular kit, dubbed the “5G Smart Module”.
- This prefabricated modular kit will mean a mobile tower won’t need to be taken offline for very long improving reliability of the service as well.
- This will extend the life of TPG’s mobile sites, not to mention lead to improved network performance overall.
TPG Telecom has developed a prefabricated modular kit, dubbed the “5G Smart Module”. The company partnered with steel fabricators Site Pro 1 - based on Port Kembla - and radiofrequency experts Vecta Labs to develop this new way of working; with it, they aim to see hundreds of sites across Australia upgraded to 5G in the coming months.
The 5G Smart Module
Site Pro 1 takes care of the steelwork, fabricating the steel frames that TPG uses in its sector assemblies. Vecta will then install the radios and antennas, not to mention the necessary cabling. Once these sectors are completed, they’re taken to the radio test chamber.
Only when they’ve been subjected to and passed the rigorous testing will these prefabricated kits be delivered to mobile tower sites. There, crane lifts will hoist them into place as single assemblies.
For years, the industry norm has been to assemble tower equipment in the field piece by piece or carrying out the testing on the tower itself. According to TPG Telecom CEO Iñaki Berroeta, this prefabricated modular kit will mean a mobile tower won’t need to be taken offline for very long, thereby improving the reliability of the service as well.
Another benefit, adds Berroeta, is the ability to better ensure the welfare of their staff. Some of the towers can measure at least 30 metres; with the modular kit, the telco will be able to lessen how long their riggers will need to work on elevated platforms, towers, or rooftops while exposed to the elements.
Trevor Hodgetts, head of site engineering and standards at TPG Telecom, has something to say about the benefits of the 5G Smart Module. “The testing at Vecta Labs is the real magic of what we’re doing with these sector assemblies,” says Hodgetts.
With testing performed at a level higher than anything that could be achieved in the field, not only will testing be consistent, but it will also help ascertain that “only the best possible components go into our network.” This will extend the life of TPG’s mobile sites, not to mention lead to improved network performance overall.
It’s not just the company and its customers that will benefit from the use of this modular kit. Jo Richmond, TPG Telecom head of sustainability, has added that the reduced time spent at the worksite also means less heavy machinery and lifting equipment usage, lessening fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, this new process means 23 tonnes of cardboard and three tonnes each of Styrofoam and thermoplastics will be recycled each year. So not only will the company reduce its carbon footprint, but it will see an improvement in waste management as well.
The 5G Mobile Rollout
The company said that 5G is available in more than 650 suburbs across major metro areas including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, and the Gold Coast. There are currently 1,600 sites in the planning and design phase, and the company’s current plan is to cover 85% of the population in the six most populous cities by the end of 2021.
Given all that, it’s clear that the 5G Smart Module will be playing a key role in TPG Telecom fast-tracking its 5G mobile rollout.
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