For over 20 years, SAC Wireless has been helping carriers build out sites across the country in every way imaginable from the macro, with major network builds, to the micro, with indoor/outdoor small cell and DAS deployments. Over that time span, with all of the variables involved in identifying sites and dealing with no-two-alike regulatory, zoning and permitting approvals, SAC Wireless managed to make a complex task for its clients easier by coordinating and centralizing their services. In 2014, SAC Wireless was acquired by Nokia and now operates independently as a wholly owned subsidiary of the international giant in mobile technology.
Having been with SAC Wireless for much of that time, Kelly Lazuka, Vice President of Business Development, has witnessed several changes in the market. She’s seen how SAC Wireless has created strategies to streamline a complicated and demanding site acquisition process. What SAC Wireless has developed, through a couple of decades of trial and error is a revolutionary process to manage site acquisition services for nationwide network programs.
“The market is moving faster, and price points are being reduced,” Lazuka said, “We had to get creative to bring down our costs and increase the rate at which we delivered Notices to Proceed (NTPs).”
Developing a centralized system that can smooth out the rough edges and vagaries of site acquisition has been SAC Wireless’ key to staying in control of a fast-moving process that gets faster by the year. The SAC Wireless Engine Room was the answer to help customers get site acquisition completed so that sites could be constructed faster to make the necessary network upgrades, to keep pace with growing data traffic. The Engine Room model allows mass production of quality NTPs, thereby cutting cycle time and saving money on large-scale site modification programs.
SAC has implemented the concepts of centralization and automation seen within the Engine Room to the tower crews. Lazuka said decreasing the amount of time tower crews have to spend on a site is even more important given the COVID-19 landscape. “Crews don’t necessarily want to stay in hotels because of the risks associated,” she said. This demand to decrease on-site time accelerated the development of Digitalization and Automation (“DnA”) initiatives to decrease the amount of time it takes to build a site. With these DnA initiatives supported by machine learning, Lazuka said tower climbers are able to type in a problem they’re facing at a site and receive instant feedback. “With DnA,” she said, “we can reduce end-to-end deployment times, increase first-time-through success on close-out packages and improve the overall build quality of each site.”
While the current pandemic has had its challenges, Lazuka said, the future still looks bright. With local jurisdictions becoming more educated on small cell infrastructure and the advantages connectivity can have on a city or borough, especially during a time like this, she has seen a change for the better in the zoning process. The recently closed T-Mobile/Sprint merger will have a positive effect as well, according to Lazuka. “We understand our customers’ processes,” she said. “And with our bench of resources we can provide the jump-start our customers need, and we know how to ramp up our services quickly.”
Tough times call for experienced operators, no doubt, but they also require creative and innovative solutions to make hard times easier. SAC Wireless feels it can bring both aspects to the table in overcoming today’s challenges and continuing to provide best in class services to customers now and in the future.