Canadian Telecom Upgrades Cell Towers with Anixter Supply Chain Solutions

Canadian telecom uses our supply chain solutions to upgrade cell towers


  • Canadian telecom company


  • Upgrading cellular tower infrastructure



  • Reduced total cost of ownership throughout the project
  • Minimized failures on site
  • Ensured long-term viability in a variety of adverse weather conditions
  • Provided a one-stop solution to keep the project on schedule

Meeting Growing Commercial and Business Demands

Mobile devices are quickly becoming people’s main source of business, entertainment and connectivity. Making sure customers have access to the latest technologies and data streaming services is paramount in the competitive mobile provider space. Integral to that service are the towers that provide cell signals to and from the mobile devices. One of the largest cable television and cell providers in Canada wanted to upgrade its cellular towers’ infrastructure to the new LTE 700 MHz network, but it was experiencing inconsistent delivery and high failure rates, which increased costs by having contractors going back to sites to repair previous installations. With the Canadian government mandating that towers must serve all bandwidths, an inoperable tower can lead to network outages and lost revenue. To boost service, the company embarked on a program to upgrade its existing towers and construct additional towers for extra capacity.

Current Solution Not Meeting Needs

The telecom provider originally decided to install a solution that relied exclusively on the delivery of individual components and cables to the job site, which created challenges with the quality of service and with the extensive time, and associated cost, related to site labor. Anixter approached the company about taking over the supply of its products. However, with over 5,000 sites that needed to be converted or built and with potentially multiple days required for one installation, many in remote locations, the company needed to make sure it could partner with someone that would meet the scope of the project. Backed by a history of telecommunications and wireless projects, the company partnered with Anixter for help with its technology and quality challenges and to create a total solution that could meet its aggressive rollout schedule.

Creating the Technical Solution

For the first year, Anixter’s Technology Solutions Services worked with the company’s engineering group to understand its deployment and technology challenges. The primary challenge was to avoid having to terminate the cables on the job site. Working in sometimes harsh conditions on the top of the tower can lead to higher failure rates, which directly impacts costs. After collaborating, Anixter created self-contained fiber optic and power enclosures that were prewired before shipment. Anixter also created a preterminated trunk system for the ruggedized fiber and power cables that went from the base to the top of the tower. Anixter’s Supply Chain Services team worked with fiber subcontractors to make sure every trunk and assembly was tested and prepackaged accordingly so when it arrived on site it was ready to install. This helped to virtually eliminate failure rates and improve reliability.

Providing Local Stock and Training

A major goal of the company was to meet its delivery dates while maintaining quality of service. By serving as a one-stop shop with several kitting options, Anixter was able to minimize touches to help make sure products were delivered on time and ready to work. All of the prebuying, assembling, testing, kitting, staging and delivery and pickup were done out of five Anixter warehouses across Canada. At these locations, Anixter trained the telecom’s employees and designated subcontractors in the best practices of fiber installation. This localized solution for deployment and training provided consistency, scalability, pretesting and modularity to minimize go backs, which lowered installation labor costs.

Saving Time with Modular Kits

Anixter created a modular solution that used several different kits, which included all of the related installation materials delivered to the job site when needed. Instead of delivering just the connectors and cables piecemeal as was done before, Anixter’s kits included a preassembled enclosure that the installer only had to connect to the tower. Everything was preterminated and notched to the site requirements. With an 8 to 12 week lead time on some material, Anixter needed to work closely with the regions to develop schedules and put together inventory lists to make sure all materials are available and ready to be kitted and shipped when needed.

Reducing Total Cost of Ownership

From start to finish, the total cost of the solution from Anixter was significantly lower than what the company was previously spending. The pretested solution helped to minimize failures on site, and the ruggedized solution helped to ensure long-term viability in a variety of adverse weather conditions. The fully kitted Anixter solutions—including installation-related materials—provided a one-stop supply shop for the contractor and subcontractors, which helped to keep the projects on schedule and allowed the telecom to build sites at a faster pace. Finally, by matching product purchases to revenue from the telecom’s supplier network, Anixter was able to optimize cash flow throughout the entire project.