PARTNER FEATURE: Recently, the PMI (China) Project Management Awards for 2021 has been announced. In view of ZTE’s outstanding performance in the DITO project in the Philippines, the judges awarded the “Outstanding Project Award” for ZTE and the “Annual PMO Award” for the Engineering Service PMO of ZTE. ZTE’s engineering project management capability has once again been recognized by the industry authorities.

In addition, at the 2021 Award Presentation Ceremony of the Asia-Pacific Cloud&Data Center in Singapore, DITO data center project constructed by ZTE was recognized by the industry and won the W.Media the Outstanding Data Center Projects. As an important part of the new-generation network construction of Philippines 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.

Figure 1  ZTE Won the 2021 Outstanding Project Award and Annual PMO Award of PMI (China)

Figure 2   ZTE and DITO Won the Outstanding Data Center Projects

In the face of challenges, we are here all the time

In Filipino, DITO means “Here”. This operator, bearing high expectations of the users in the Philippines, has the ambition to complete the national coverage of 4G mobile services and optical broadband services within three years, and to speed up the deployment of 5G mobile network and improve the telecom infrastructure of the Philippines by providing world-class telecom services.

According to the plan, DITO will build national 4G and 5G mobile communication networks. Where, 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, the construction of communication infrastructure projects, such as site acquisition, ROW acquisition, and mains introduction, is also involved.

As a new operator, in a country with thousands of islands, it is difficult to build a high-quality mobile network covering most of the country in a short time. After being successfully selected as the network equipment and service provider of the largest Turnkey project in the history of Philippine communication, ZTE worked together with DITO, facing the huge difficulty of 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 scope covers over 700 cities and 20 islands. Main business covers more than 20 sub-services of three major service categories: wireless, wireline and data center. In addition, the project involves applying for construction permits from nearly 20 government agencies and over 1000 communities and apply for electricity use from more than 70 power supply companies.
  • Weak basis for business processes and human resources: Project personnel, suppliers, service provider partners, and related services and processes are created and formulated from scratch.
  • Frequent natural disasters such as volcanoes and typhoons: During the project implementation process, volcanic eruptions, more than then earthquakes on magnitude 5 or above, 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: As the Philippines is one of the countries with the worst COVID-19 epidemic in Southeast Asia, COVID-19 pandemic has caused many chain reactions to local traffic, logistics, transportation, personnel, and construction safety.

Together with ZTE, DITO has ushered in a new speed in the telecommunications industry in the Philippines

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 priority of the network commercial plan and site commissioning task, guaranteeing the KPI performance of the commercial network and improving the user experience under the prerequisite of ensuring the project progress to the maximum extent.

During the network deployment process, by making full use of the digital and intelligent cloud platform and tools, ZTE iEPMS (Intelligent Engineering Project Management System) 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 in full dimension through mobile phone or Web client, which significantly improves the efficiency of the engineering process. In addition, cloud-based network service model improves the efficiency of network deployment in the context of the epidemic.

With the unified deployment of DITO, in the three half-year milestones from January 2020 to June 2021, ZTE took the lead in achieving its goals. 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 1700 Turnkey sites, over 5000 km optical cables, and over 30 IDC data centers. Together with ZTE, DITO has ushered in a new speed in the telecommunications industry in the Philippines.

Figure 3 Achieving the Milestone Target

ZTE’s AMB innovative 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 (Ability — for ability capability building, Method — for management method innovation, and B for Business Continuously 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 management method innovation. In combination with the new normal situation of pandemic, the BCM mechanism and innovative cloud-based network service model guarantee business continuity. Besides, its essence is to focus on the elements of “talent team, services and risks” of projects. The talent team is the key part, the management method is the core, and the BCM is the cornerstone.

Taking risk identification and control as an example, with the BCM emergency plan, ZTE has assessed the impact in different stages of epidemic development in a timely manner and taken targeted measures. In addition, ZTE has gradually 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 a ZTE delivery brand, and ZTE team was praised by the customer’s leaders for being “an unbeatable team”.

Building 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. After four months of commercial use of the network, the number of users has reached several millions, with the development speed much faster than expected. With the continuous increase of commercial sites and cities, the number of users will continue to increase.

As the number of users increases, the existing network performance cannot meet the requirement of high-speed traffic growth. ZTE’s superb network construction helps the customer to improve network performance by providing multi-dimensional solutions. For example, the deployment of intelligent network optimization platform -NGI achieves accurate visualized evaluation of network quality. The intelligent WNG drive test software, an automatic drive test solution based on innovative APP and cloud architecture, achieves fast and efficient data collection and analysis, and deploys the key feature according to the evaluation test, improving user perception and attracting more users to choose the DITO network.

Figure 4: ZTE Guarantees the Commercial Use of 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.”