4 min read

At work connecting the world

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Johan and Dennis are out in the field, building base stations for the new Norwegian 5G network. Traveling to the worksite by helicopter, walking by foot, or even making their way through the landscapes by snow mobile is daily routine.

Today colleagues Johan (32) and Dennis (33) are in Holmlia outside Oslo, building a new base station for 5G. From the 20-meters high mobile mast on top of a hill, they have a beautiful view of the Oslo Fjord and the surrounding scenery.

– Our task here is to do the so-called «5G swap». We have removed the old 2G, 3G, and 4G equipment from Huawei and Ericsson and prepared to build an entirely new base station with new technology and 5G features. The next step right now is to hoist up the new antennas and mount them, says Johan.

When the equipment is ready, the mast can begin to communicate with the outside world.

Infrastructure for the future

The fifth-generation mobile network brings a technology that will create new solutions based on robotics, virtual reality, and the "Internet of Things" (IoT). Society will become more intelligent, with better health care, social security, and reduced energy consumption and climate emissions. But it requires a completely new digital infrastructure to be built throughout our vast country.

That means someone has to go out into the field and build base stations for the new infrastructure - whether it is at the far end of Trolltunga in Western Norway or on a windswept mountain peak in mid-winter. In this case, it is "Team Johan and Dennis" who must endure weather and wilderness at work in Norwegian landscapes.

Smells like team spirit_D0A0816_foto_erik_thallaug

Johan and Dennis have always been a team. As childhood friends, they were going to school together in Dalarna in Sweden. They went on working together in Swedish telecom and finally joined UBConnect - again as a team.

The two are in a noticeable good and cheerful spirit.

- We have a regular work schedule that works well. I take care of the technical part and am probably a team leader, says Johan. - And I'm Bob, the Builder, Dennis jokingly adds.

UBConnect will upgrade the equipment to 5G at all Telia stations throughout the country - a total of around 5,000 stations. "Team Johan and Dennis" estimates that they have so far installed almost 100 base stations during their one and a half year working on this 5G project. It requires good planning and teamwork.

-Normally, we complete one new station a week. That requires efficiency, and our planning is the most important thing to make it happen. We agree pretty quickly on how to get started at each base station. Each location is unique and needs a different work schedule, says Dennis.

The team says that it is a typical UBConnect attitude to contribute to good team spirit and cooperation.

- We communicate daily with our international and Oslo offices. Our project managers plan the logistics and all the practicalities of the job very well from beginning to end. It allows us to focus on the work, says Johan.

- We often help the other teams. We have teams from all over Europe, such as Lithuania, Romania, and several other countries.

Working in the wilderness_D0A0645_foto_erik_thallaug

Johan and Dennis first started building 5G base stations in Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger. Then, they gradually worked their way into more remote parts of the country. As a result, they often come face to face with the forces of Norwegian nature. For example, their helicopter had to give up on a mission to a so-called "remote site" in the mountains of Voss. Yet, that was no obstacle to getting the job done.

- It was impossible to fly up by helicopter because it was unstable winter weather with snow and wind and at very high altitude. So our project manager found a solution to get there without a helicopter. The answer was to move up the mountainside with a snowmobile, says Johan.

One assignment, in particular, made an impression on the travel-loving team, with a sense of beautiful Norwegian nature. The stunning yet hazardous location of Trolltunga in the Hardangerfjord also needed a new base station for 5G.

- The mast up there will provide mobile coverage to the tourists who come to Trolltunga. It was a long way to go there every day, so we were flown by helicopter. It was a spectacular view, says Dennis.

The team and their equipment often have to be transported to the "site" by helicopter.

- Norway is a mountainous country. But HSE and safety are very important to UBConnect, so we always feel safe. The office often sends the materials to us by helicopter, and we walk a few kilometers through the terrain to the site, says Johan.

- It is fun to travel around and see so much of the beautiful landscape in Norway. It is an important motivating factor that we are delighted by Norwegian nature and people, says the team.

Contributing to a better future

As a 5G installer, the days are rarely the same, and the team greatly appreciates working on something meaningful. Although it is easy to forget when hanging on top of a mast, the work helps to create a new digital infrastructure that will change society fundamentally in the long run.

- Contributing to building the future and creating a better society is essential to us - it feels like we are doing something useful when we are at work. But for me, since I am interested in technology, it is also fun to build something that I will use in everyday life, says Johan.




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