Mumbai: Reliance Jio has been using drones for its tower surveillance and maintenance. The telecom major is also planning to use the technology to survey sites and roll out towers for its coming 5G projects.
The Mukesh Ambani-led telco is leveraging its stake in drone maker Asteria Aerospace—some three years ago—to test use cases for tower maintenance via drones to drive time and cost efficiencies. Drones will be used to check the health of towers and Jio’s assets deployed on them.
“With the number of towers in the country poised to double over the next few years, digitalising tower surveillance will play a crucial role,” Neel Mehta, director & co-founder, Asteria Aerospace, said.
Mehta said the use of drones “not only cuts down time significantly, but also drives cost efficiencies.”
He said companies can reduce time to survey sites by almost 30–40%, adding that while drones won’t cost less than sending a human up a tower, the value derived would be nearly 30% higher.
Industry experts said drones can be used by tower companies that provide tower infrastructure or by telcos who have deployed electronics on the towers. You can use them even before a tower is set up to survey the potential site for erecting a tower… “They are also being used to check for damage, and even optimise tower usage to maximise monetisation,” said Mehta.
The Jio-Asteria exercise is at a pilot stage, but once scaled up and fine tuned, the service will be offered to other telcos and tower infrastructure companies, said Asteria’s Mehta.