Delivering essential services: Personal stories from Ericsson in Wuhan

In January 2020, Wuhan was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. Working on the frontline of the emerging crisis, Ericsson engineers there worked tirelessly to deliver critical communications and infrastructure across the province. Here are a few of their stories.

Wuhan, Hubei Province, China
Wuhan, Hubei Province, China

Across the Hubei province in China, Ericsson teams were called on in early January 2020 to help respond to the emerging corona crisis. On top of their regular responsibilities, the Ericsson Hubei team was also a member of the Wuhan Epidemic Prevention and Emergency Response Working Group that was deployed in the first weeks of January 2020 to provide communications and logistical support, including collecting the health status of Ericsson Wuhan employees. 

Chen Zhi, is a Mobile Account Manager at Ericsson Hubei and led one of the early response teams.

“After overcoming the initial fear of being infected, I rushed to the office to distribute masks to employees and to colleagues who were unable to pick up at the office in time. I labelled masks one-by-one and placed them at the location designated for each colleague,” Zhi says.

One the first problems Zhi faced was a dwindling availability of protective materials - materials that were getting scarcer by the day.

“I made the trip to Wuhan each day. There I was able to get the latest information on the company’s material procurement, such as real-time dynamics of arrival, clearance, inventory, etc., and also summarize the arrival, distribution, receipt, and latest demand changes of local materials in Wuhan. This way we were able to ensure timely and unobstructed communication between headquarters and the Wuhan location.”

Zhi coordinated with local logistics companies and various departments to ensure that protective materials were received and distributed to frontline employees in a timely manner. On top of this, Zhi’s team handled an emergency order for 26 base stations in Wuhan and 13 base stations in Xianning to be used for epidemic prevention.

“I hope through this work I was been able to contribute just a little towards winning this battle,” he says.

An urgent need for connectivity

On the eve of the Chinese New Year, Wang Chaohua, GTC NRO Engineer and member of the Ericsson Hubei Mobile Project Team, participated in the emergency meeting. There, Chaohua learned that the Wuhan Mobile Engineering Department would be deploying Ericsson mobile network infrastructure in the Caidian Staff Nursing Home, as well as at the Vulcan Mountain Hospital.

Wang Chaohua

It was early in the day when Chaohua put on his protective equipment and rushed to the scene of Vulcan Mountain Hospital to assist in the installation and commissioning of the new base station.

“During the Lunar New Year, the installation team was particularly understaffed,” Chaohua says. “So after a lot of effort, we completed the installation and powered up of the equipment – just before 11pm,” Chaohua says.

“When the team saw that all indicators were operating normally, we had a smile and sigh of relief as if the physical and psychological hardships of the last couple of days had disappeared.”

Chaohua added, “I always stick to my post and stand up when the company, customers and society needs it. It is incumbent on me.”