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Press Release -- July 7th, 2015
Source: Nokia Siemens Networks

Nokia Networks, du first in UAE to use telco drones for better network planning & faster optimization

  • Proof of Concept conducted in du’s live network at Dubai International Stadium, Dubai Sports City
  • Drones help with automated testing and analysis for faster network optimization before and during large events
  • Telco drones also used for tower inspections, radio planning and Line of Sight testing

Dubai, UAE – 07 July 2015

In yet another noteworthy step toward a smart city future, Nokia Networks and du, the Middle East’s fastest growing telecommunications service provider, employed drones carrying smartphones with network testing applications to analyze du’s network. The test was carried out at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai Sports City*, which has a seating capacity of 25,000 people. The Proof of Concept (PoC) gathered network data and provided Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a speedy performance test and efficient network optimization actions. Telco drones were also used for tower inspections, radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing between radio towers.

Automated testing and analysis is more efficient than traditional manual walk tests, as drones can cover the desired area quicker. Additionally, the test data is collected automatically and sent to a server so that it can be instantly processed at Nokia Networks’ Global Delivery Center (GDC) for immediate reporting and any necessary actions to improve network performance.

Click to Tweet: Telco drones used by @nokianetworks, @dutweets in Dubai for faster network optimization #NetworksPerform

Telco drones were also used for tower inspections to reduce the number of times technicians need to climb up and down a telecom tower. It is especially important when weather conditions make climbing too dangerous. This method delivers a high-quality site audit with unique and detailed panoramic and top-down views of the lattice tower captured in one pass. Drones can also help supervise the quality of installation by remotely monitoring the installation via wireless video streaming.

The drones were also used for radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing**. The engineers knew if a frequency used was impacted by trees, if there was sufficient power to cover the distance, what the simulated latency would look like and what performance over such a connection could be expected. This helped achieve optimal site design, establish a clear LoS, as well as suitable antenna height and site location.

Solution details at a glance:

  • In the PoC, these demonstrations were carried out in close collaboration with Nokia Networks’ partners Dubai Sports City, Ascom Network Testing, DroneWorks FZ LLC, and Secutronic FZE.
  • Smartphones pre-installed with the TEMS™ Pocket software from Ascom Network Testing
  • High-capability drones from Secutronic were used: INSPIRE1 for network optimization at the stadium, and MICRODRONES md4-1000 for tower inspection, LoS and radio site planning
  • Wireless video broadcast camera were used from m-View Live Video Pty Ltd for remote monitoring

Marwan BinShakar, Vice President – Mobile Access Network & Operations at du, said: “Innovation is the lifeblood of the UAE’s smart city future, and we are proud to successfully demonstrate our network capabilities. Together with Nokia Networks, we are satisfied with the results from the use of drones for network planning and faster optimization in specific location at Dubai International Stadium, as well as for radio planning and tower inspection which will result in greater efficiency and improved safety.”

Tony Awad, Head of du Customer Team, Nokia Networks, said: “Drones are becoming a common phenomenon across the world and multiple sectors are embracing the benefits drones bring such as faster deliveries in logistics or delivering emergency services in health care. In the telecoms sector, certain operators have already embraced the use of drones for telecom tower audits, and we are proud to be able to demonstrate multiple use cases using drones with du in the UAE. With the use of drones we continue to bring innovation and automation into our service delivery to make our networks even more efficient and reliable.”

Did you know?

Nokia Networks is exploring the potential uses of drones in the telecoms industry and, at Mobile World Congress 2015, triggered the discussion on multiple use cases including tower inspection, network optimization, LoS and radio planning with drones.

Picture 1: Collecting network data using a drone

Picture 2: Tower inspection using a drone

Picture 3: LoS test using a drone


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TAGS: Network Planning and Optimization, network optimization, customer satisfaction, services delivery, mobile broadband, drones, Global Delivery Center (GDC)

About du

We started operating in 2007, offering mobile and fixed telephony, broadband connectivity and IPTV services. Today, we serve more than 7.5 million individual customers and over 80,000 businesses in the UAE. We also provide carrier services for businesses and satellite up/downlink services for TV broadcasters.

We won the Gallup Great Workplace Award. Our recruitment strategy aims to provide fulfilling opportunities for quality talent in a cosmopolitan working environment where more than 60 nationalities work 35% of which are Emiratis. We are the first telecom company in the world to release a Sustainability Report based on GRI-G4 comprehensive guidelines. Among our other laurels, we also have the credit of being the first in the UAE to be awarded with prestigious LEED Platinum certification for 2 of our green retail outlet.

du is 39.5 percent owned by Emirates Investment Authority, 20.08 percent by Mubadala Development Company PJSC, 19.5 percent by Emirates Communications and Technology LLC and the remaining by public shareholders. Listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the company trades under the name ‘du’.

About Nokia

By focusing on the human possibilities of technology, Nokia embraces the connected world to help people thrive. Our three businesses are leaders in their fields. Nokia Networks provides broadband infrastructure software and services, HERE provides mapping, navigation and location intelligence, and Nokia Technologies provides advanced technology development and licensing.

Nokia Networks, which provides broadband infrastructure, software and services, operates at the forefront of our industry. From the first ever call on GSM to the first call on LTE, we have set the pace of innovation, a record that continues with future technologies such as 5G. Together with our operator customers, who serve close to 5 billion subscribers, we are embracing the opportunity of the connected world and helping to solve its challenges.

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