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What Brings New Life to an Old Store?

Jul 2018

How can a decade year old snack store achieve a 20% increase in customers?

If you ask the business owner Natthapat from Bangkok, he will gladly share with you the huge benefits of having an electric pole facing his store.

Natthapat first opened his snack shop 12 years ago. The products and services that this small shop provides are actually quite wide and very popular among nearby residents. In recent years, a growing number of foreign tourists, especially from China, mean new big opportunities for his snack shop.

Sometimes, Natthapat also got a little bit frustrated when thinking about the terrible signal coverage in his store. Many visitors coming to his shop were bitterly disappointed to find that they cannot share photos of the food or view popular food suggestions via mobile apps while enjoying time in his store. The bigger concern from a business perspective was that mobile payment was impossible as he had heard that mobile payments (like WeChat and Alipay) successfully helped to deliver a 10% to 20% increase in business from other similar stores.

Although across the country users are generally enjoying good overall mobile coverage in Thailand, signals are still quite weak in narrow streets as a result of obstructions by tall nearby buildings. Unfortunately, his store was located in such an area.

Carriers are aware of the common issue but are quite unhelpful in pursuing a good solution. In overly crowded streets, the deployment of towers is simply not an available option, making rooftops the only feasible consideration for base stations. However, this often means time-consuming negotiations with property management and local residents, leading to ridiculously sky-high leasing costs. In addition, adding new sites means additional challenges for interference control needed to maintain existing good coverage in nearby areas.

As luck would have it Natthapat was soon to receive some good news. The carrier had successfully pinpointed the weak coverage zone in and around his store. Early one morning, two engineering crews arrived bright and eager to proceed in getting quite busy working on the electric pole across the road, with what appeared to be a small assortment of boxes and cables. As to not cause any alarm they told Natthapat that they were installing a base station on the pole to solve his woes and dismay with the current annoying signal problem.

The base station installed on the electric pole is Huawei’s newest innovation in lightweight products, aptly named PoleStar. This miniature device can precisely fill small and medium coverage holes or address congestion on existing networks. Its purpose-built compact design combines blade batteries and power supply, allowing it to be quickly and conveniently installed on poles and billboards within just a few hours.

“Drop&Play” is a special Polestar planning tool that permits carriers to identify weak coverage areas before customers’ complaints bursting (in this case around Natthapat’s store). With this powerful tool, carriers can efficiently discover locations prone to bad user experience and offer the most cost-effective solutions that suit onsite power supply, transmission, and site conditions.

After two days of tests, the base station on the pole was officially put into full-time operation. Natthapat’s son spared no time in opening YouTube in the deepest corner of the store and to his surprise found that the high network speeds and HD videos were beyond reproach. Delighted with the outcome, Natthapat did not hesitate or waste a single second in proudly posting a sign in the doorway: “Mobile Payment Accepted”, hoping to attract more and more customers to his store.