Amplifying connectivity: antenna expansion initiatives in Fiji
- In the tropical paradise of Fiji, Ericsson, its Australian partner Maser, and a top Fijian communication service provider (CSP) have teamed up to install 700 mid-band passive antennas across more than 250 base stations.
- This blog delves into how this collaboration enhances sustainability, safety and connectivity goals.
In Fiji's picturesque landscape of sun-kissed beaches and swaying palm trees, antennas stand tall as silent sentinels. Their role extends beyond signal amplification; they serve as the architects of connectivity, surpassing boundaries, nurturing growth and progress and paving the way for advancement.
Amidst the idyllic scenery, the realm of telecommunications in the Pacific Islands presents unique challenges for CSPs due to the geographical nature of the islands, dispersed communities, and diverse market needs. In response to these complexities, a Fijian-based CSP turned to Ericsson and Maser for antenna support. What initially involved a deal for 70 Ericsson antennas in 2022 has swiftly evolved into a substantial collaboration, resulting in the deployment of 700 mid-band passive antennas. As part of this initiative, over 250 base stations across the archipelago, including remote outer islands and pivotal hubs such as Suva and Nadi, will undergo upgrades, comprising a combination of site enhancements and new installations. This expansion empowers the CSP to revitalize existing sites and venture into the 1800-2600MHz range, primarily utilized for LTE capacity upgrades and new site deployments.
Anjanjot Singh, Head of Market Area Asia, Ericsson Antenna Systems, says, “We're working relentlessly to enhance connectivity, making it accessible to every Fijian, connecting remote villages, urban centres, and everything in between. At Ericsson Antenna System, we see our high performing, sustainable antennas as a gateway to higher performing, more energy efficient networks, making it possible for those networks to act as a catalyst for a more connected society”
Beyond bandwidth: How new antenna technology fuels economic growth, sustainability and safety
The need for a swap-out of old antennas stems from the integral role antenna systems play in the radio access network. As networks adapt to multiple frequencies and technologies, advancements in antenna tech ensure compactness, more capacity and wider coverage – it's all about making the right choice for maximum network impact!
Benefits of Ericsson’s new antenna system include:
- Up to 29 percent reduction in radio output power in Mid-band,
- Up to 7.5 percent efficiency increase (MB/kWh) >> More data with same energy consumption
- Untapped energy savings, potential power reductions in the 700/800/900 MHz layer,
- Up to 12 percent improvement in DL user throughput,
- Up to 57 percent improvement in uplink user throughput, and
- Additional total cost of ownership (TCO) savings attributed to quality, installation simplicity, wind load reduction.
- Beyond network capacity upgrades, the collaboration delved into Fiji's economic fabric, heavily reliant on tourism, service, as well as sustainability and safety.
Ashnil Bali, Manager Access Networks, Vodafone Fiji says: "The increased demand for bandwidth amplifies the significance of this partnership as tourism revives, aligning with the growing global trend of reducing carbon footprints. The significance of this expansion cannot be overstated. In a region where every antenna deployment counts due to dispersed communities, the 700-antenna initiative is a game-changer. Ericsson's antennas promise high performance while aligning with environmental responsibility, a pivotal aspect in telecommunications and regions like the Pacific Islands where sustainability is imperative."
Antennas play a significant role in reducing energy consumption, aligning with the objectives of telecom operators to minimize their impact on the environment. Digitalization, leveraging ICT solutions, can drive a 15 percent reduction in global emissions by 2030, signaling the potential for increased climate action through ICT solutions. This focus on sustainability in telecommunications, especially in regions like the Pacific Islands, is imperative. Next-generation antennas not only promise high performance but also align with the growing global trend of reducing carbon footprints. This aspect will be pivotal, aligning with regulations and the evolving consciousness towards environmental responsibility. In 2023 Ericsson’s antenna solutions took top out the top spot in ABI’s Research’s sustainability report.
Enhanced connectivity, powered by improved antennas, acts as a cornerstone for driving economic growth in Fiji. Beyond its technological implications, this enhanced connectivity fosters a fertile ground for business innovation and market expansion. Reliable and faster internet access facilitates innovation and entrepreneurship, empowering businesses to embrace digital transformation, innovate new products or services, and explore global markets more effectively. This, in turn, creates an environment conducive for startups and established businesses to thrive, contributing significantly to Fiji's economic landscape.
Moreover, the robust connectivity offered by better antennas supports remote work possibilities and seamless collaboration, breaking geographical barriers and optimizing labor efficiency. This flexible work environment attracts and retains skilled talent within Fiji, encouraging economic growth by diversifying the talent pool and fostering a more productive workforce. Additionally, in the realm of tourism, improved networks can revolutionize experiences for visitors, offering augmented reality, virtual tours, and real-time information services. These advancements not only attract more tourists but also enhance their experiences, driving growth in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Ultimately, better antennas and enhanced connectivity serve as catalysts for economic development, nurturing innovation, expanding market reach, supporting infrastructure growth, and amplifying Fiji's overall economic prosperity.
Lastly, Fiji is a country not only blessed by Mother Nature but also one that must withstand her fury. Antennas in the region are continually put to the test, forced to endure extreme weather conditions, which are critical in an area prone to storms and adverse environmental elements. The region often faces devastating storms and typhoons, where reliable communication infrastructure becomes a lifeline. This paradise, vulnerable to nature's fury, requires antenna systems capable of withstanding such tempests. Ericsson antennas boast enhancements ensuring resilience amid adversity, with over a 10 percent improved wind load due to an optimized radome structure, Vortex Generators, and Side Edges. During typhoons, maintaining connectivity becomes an immense challenge due to severe weather conditions that routinely disrupt networks and damage infrastructure. Ericsson’s robust antennas play a pivotal role by providing durability and resilience tailored to endure typhoon-level forces. Their capability ensures uninterrupted functionality during and after storms, serving as reliable communication channels crucial for emergency response and coordination efforts. Their sturdy construction and rapid deployment capabilities can ensure swiftly restoration of services in affected areas, aiding in reconnecting communities and bridging coverage gaps caused by infrastructure damage. Ultimately, these antennas serve as indispensable elements, safeguarding uninterrupted connectivity and enabling essential communications – crucial during and after typhoons.
Effective antenna systems facilitate reliable and high-speed communication networks, enabling businesses to operate efficiently. Improved connectivity supports various sectors like finance, healthcare, agriculture, and manufacturing, fostering innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. With better access to information and markets, businesses can expand their reach, form global partnerships, and access new opportunities, thereby contributing significantly to economic growth.
Connectivity is a key factor in attracting tourists. Good antenna systems ensure seamless communication and internet access, enabling tourists to stay connected while traveling. This connectivity allows tourists to more easily share experiences, access information about local attractions, and make travel arrangements. It also supports tourism-related businesses by facilitating online bookings, promoting destinations, and enhancing visitor experiences, thereby boosting the tourism industry.
Improved connectivity can contribute to sustainability by enabling better resource management. Smart infrastructure, supported by robust antenna systems, allows for efficient monitoring and management of energy, water, and waste systems. Additionally, enhanced connectivity facilitates remote work opportunities, reducing the need for commuting and office spaces, thereby reducing carbon footprints. Moreover, better connectivity supports the dissemination of information about sustainable practices and enables collaboration for environmental initiatives.
Making waves across the South Pacific Ocean
The potential to extend similar partnerships to other islands emerges as the next strategic move, enabling other CSPs in the region to further reduce their carbon footprint while bringing the latest technological solutions to their communities and customers.
Carys Geraghty, COO of Maser Australia emphasizes, “In the realm of connectivity, collaboration is the key that unlocks innovation. We strongly believe in the power of partnership, where collective expertise meets technological prowess. Our collaboration in Fiji highlights the transformative potential when collaboration and advanced technology merge – paving the way for enhanced connectivity, stronger networks, and progress across the Pacific Islands. However, it's more than just technology; it's a narrative woven with trust, adaptation, and shared values.”
Ultimately, this collaboration underscores how technology can pave the path for progress, even in challenging environments, showcasing its capacity to amplify connectivity and drive transformation.
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