Safaricom has began trial of a new and innovative network coverage technology aimed at enhancing coverage in urban areas.
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.
The TubeStar is targeted at urban areas which present a space constraint when putting up network towers. Placing standard towers in such locations has been difficult as most landowners have future plans for currently unutilised land or have already put up structures on the entire land leaving little space for a typical base station.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 has been 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. 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. Huawei launched the TubeStar innovative macro base station solution last year prior to the 2017 Global Mobile Broadband Forum.