ZTE's engineering project management capability has once again been recognized by the industry authorities. At the PMI (China) Project Management Awards 2021, ZTE grabbed the "Outstanding Project Award" for its performance in the DITO project in the Philippines, and the "PMO of the Year Award" for its Engineering Service PMO (Fig. 1).
In addition, at W.Media's Asia Pacific Cloud & Data Center Awards 2021, DITO data center project constructed by ZTE won the Hyperscale Innovation (Automation) Award (Fig. 2). As an important part of the new-generation network of DITO, the successful deployment of the data center project cluster ensures the fast commercial use of the national 4G/5G network of DITO, which greatly improves the communication service quality of the Philippines.
Behind the honors that follow one after another, great efforts have been paid.
In the Face of Challenges, We are Here All the Time
In Filipino, DITO means "Here". This much-anticipated operator has set the goal to complete the national coverage of 4G mobile services and optical broadband services within three years while speeding up the deployment of 5G mobile network, and to improve the telecom infrastructure of the Philippines by providing world-class telecom services.
DITO will build 4G and 5G networks covering most of the country from scratch. The wireless site construction involves site planning, site construction, optical cable construction, data equipment room commissioning, submarine cable leasing, and core network construction. In addition, communications infrastructure projects, such as site acquisition, ROW acquisition, and mains introduction are also involved.
For a new operator, in a country with thousands of islands and a lot of volcanoes, it is difficult to build a high-quality nationwide mobile network in a short time. After being successfully selected as the network equipment and service provider of the largest turnkey project in the Philippine telecommunications history, ZTE worked together with DITO to tackle the huge difficulties in building a new high-quality network within a limited period of time.
—High standard of engineering quality and progress: The annual project delivery volume is 2-3 times that of the historical average, and engineering quality is the highest in China and the Philippines.
—Extremely complex construction environment and engineering interface: The construction covers over 700 cities and 20 islands. Main business covers more than 20 sub-services in the three major categories of wireless, wireline and data center. In addition, the project involves applying for construction permits from nearly 20 government agencies and over 1000 communities, and electricity use from more than 70 power supply companies.
—Weak basis for business processes and human resources: Project personnel, suppliers, service provider partners needed to be appointed, and related services and processes formulated from scratch.
—Frequent natural disasters such as volcanoes and typhoons: During the project implementation process, volcanic eruptions, more than 10 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or higher, floods in rainy seasons, and more than 20 typhoons including the world's strongest typhoon "Swan" have occurred, bringing great challenges to the construction safety, progress, and quality of the project.
—Severe spread of COVID-19 pandemic: In the Philippines—one of the countries hit hardest by COVID-19 in Southeast Asia, COVID-19 has caused chain reactions that affect local traffic, logistics, transportation, personnel, and construction safety.
With ZTE, DITO has Created a New Speed
To deal with a series of challenges, in the planning of engineering solutions, ZTE fully considers the development path of the DITO network. According to the commercial planning of DITO, ZTE constantly adjusts and optimizes the site commissioning plan of each city, and balances the priorities for the network commercial plan and site commissioning task, guaranteeing the KPI performance of the commercial network to the maximum extent while ensuring the project progress.
During the network deployment process, the digital and intelligent cloud platform and tools are made full use of. ZTE's intelligent engineering project management system (iEPMS) achieves the end-to-end full-process service flow. DITO, ZTE and outsourcing partners can manage the plan, progress, documents, and quality of the project through mobile phone or a web client, which significantly improves the efficiency of the engineering process. In addition, cloud-based network service model improves the efficiency of network deployment during the epidemic.
For milestones of three consecutive half-years from January 2020 to June 2021 set by DITO, ZTE took the lead in achieving its goals (Fig. 3). ZTE completed the commissioning and interconnection of test sites, and successfully made the first call in the third month after project initiation. Finally, it took ZTE only 18 months to complete the construction of over 1,700 turnkey sites, over 5,000 km optical cables, and over 30 IDC data centers. Together with ZTE, DITO has created a new speed of network construction in the telecommunications industry in the Philippines.
ZTE's Innovative AMB Project Management Method was Recognized
ZTE's project team has extracted an innovative project management method suitable for overseas large-scale full-turnkey projects, that is, AMB (A for ability building, M for management method innovation, and B for business continuity management). Its core is to rapidly gather internal and external resources to build an excellent project team, and efficiently manage the core services of turnkey projects through digital tools and innovative management methods. Meanwhile, in view of the new normal of the pandemic, the BCM mechanism and innovative cloud-based network service model are used to guarantee business continuity. The essence of AMB is to focus on the elements of "talented team, services and risks" of projects.
Taking risk identification and control as an example, with the BCM emergency plan, ZTE has assessed the impact in the different stages of the epidemic in a timely manner and taken targeted measures. In addition, ZTE has summarized its work methods to institutionalize personnel protection, site check-in, and health monitoring, so as to ensure continuous delivery and safe production in the face of disasters and unfavorable situations. The high-quality delivery of the project exceeded the customer's expectations, and established ZTE's delivery brand, and the ZTE team was praised by the customer's leaders as "an unbeatable team".
To Build High-Quality Network, DITO will Always be "Here"
In March 2021, DITO released the commercial network, and launched differentiated packages to build the DITO brand. It has reached several million subscribers, four months after its commercial launch. With the continuous increase of commercial sites and covered cities, the number of users will continue to increase.
As the number of users increases, the existing network performance cannot accommodate the high-speed traffic growth. ZTE helps the customer improve network performance by providing multi-dimensional solutions (Fig. 4). For example, the network geolocation insight (NGI), an intelligent network optimization platform, facilitates accurate visualized evaluation of network quality. The wireless network guardian (WNG), an automatic innovative drive test solution based on app + cloud architecture, enables fast and efficient data collection and analysis, and the key feature can be deployed according to the evaluation test results, improving user perception and attracting more users to choose the DITO network.
Rodolfo Santiago, DITO's CTO, highly recognizes ZTE's network service capability. In an interview with the media, he said, "ZTE is excellent not only in 5G technologies, but also in optical network construction. We look forward to continuing to work with ZTE to fulfill our commitment to the government and people of the Philippines within five years."