du and Nokia Networks use telco drones for network optimisation

07 July 2015 |


du and Nokia Networks are claiming to be the first players in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to use telco drones for enhanced network planning and faster optimisation.

In a proof of concept (PoC) trial at the Dubai International Stadium – which seats 25,000 – drones carried smartphones with network testing applications to analyse du’s network.

The PoC collected network data and delivered key performance indicators (KPIs) for speedy performance and efficient network optimisation, and the two companies see the trial as a further step towards a smart city future for Dubai.

“Innovation is the lifeblood of the UAE’s smart city future, and we are proud to successfully demonstrate our network capabilities,” said Marwan bin Shakar, VP of mobile access network & operations at du.

Drones were also used for tower inspections to reduce the number of times technicians need to climb up and down telecoms tower, as well as radio planning and line of sight (LoS) testing.

LoS testing enables engineers to achieve optimal site design by notifying them of any obstacles to the frequency, ensuring there is sufficient power for the distance, and creating a simulation of latency expectations.

“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 healthcare,” said Tony Awad, head of du customer team at Nokia Networks.

“In the telecoms sector, certain operators have already embraced the use of drones for telecoms 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.”

Just last month, du and Nokia Networks launched LTE-A in the UAE, and in October 2014, the two teamed up to complete a VoLTE call in the region