Operators and vendors revealed the different ways they are working to lower the cost of power, which, according to Rajiv Mehotra, chairman of Indian telecom equipment vendor Vihaan Networks Ltd. (VNL), accounts for 32 percent of an operator’s operating costs.
According to Christian de Faria, vice president for West & Central Africa at MTN Group, the slowdown in the subregion “is still not too acute,” and the Nigerian market is still growing very fast. But there is nevertheless some evidence of a slowdown: Minutes of use, rather than subscription numbers, are falling, with airtime consumption in some countries down 10-15% year-on-year, according to de Faria. In some cases, it is also more difficult to obtain finance.
News from VNL – Main Hall, Stand 3
AMERICAS COM, JUNE 30, 2009 – VNL today announced that WorldGSM, the world’s first solar powered GSM system specifically designed for remote rural areas in South America and throughout the world, is now commercially available.
VNL’s WorldGSM enables mobile operators to reach remote rural areas where ARPUs are less than $2 a month – and still make a profit.
For years, operators and GSM equipment vendors have struggled with the same problem: traditional GSM equipment is not designed for the unique challenges posed by remote rural areas. It costs too much, is too expensive to run, uses too much power and is too difficult to deploy (especially in areas with no electricity, poor roads and a lack of trained engineers).
VNL has spent the last 5 years re-engineering GSM to overcome these challenges. The result is WorldGSM – the world’s first truly environmentally sustainable mobile network.
Trials in remote villages in Rajasthan, the largest state in India, have recently finished. Many people made their first ever phone calls thanks to VNL.
VNL’s WorldGSM uses solar power as its single energy source – no diesel generators required. It is made for simple delivery and deployment by local workers – all resulting in zero opex, dramatically lower capex and near zero maintenance. The use of solar power not only drastically reduces operating expenses for mobile operators but also contributes to a much lower environmental impact. VNL estimates that mobile networks in India alone require two billion litres of diesel every year to power back-up diesel generators.
WorldGSM won the “best technology foresight” category at last year’s World Communications Awards and was runner up in the “Green Network Hardware and Infrastructure” category at the 2009 CTIA Wireless E-Tech Awards.
<h4>OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO RURAL MARKETS</h4>
WorldGSM overcomes the many barriers to serving rural markets without making any unnecessary compromises. The system integrates with existing GSM macro networks and extends them into previously unreachable rural areas. It is 3GPP compliant and compatible with all standard handsets. The highlights:
WorldGSM also opens up a new microtelecom business model – involving microfinance – where operators can partner with local entrepreneurs to accelerate deployment and reduce costs still further.
Rajiv Mehrotra, VNL’s Chairman, CEO and founder, says;
“We have overcome the challenges of providing GSM networks in rural areas. Now operators have a truly viable way to build profitable networks to connect the next billion mobile users.”
WorldGSM can be seen at VNL’s booth (stand 3) at AmericasCOM in Rio de Janeiro 30 June – 1 July.
For more information, visit www.vnl.in or contact VNL’s PR representatives Rafael Junquera (+1-305-735-8095, email@example.com or Skype: rafaeljunquera) or Juan Gimenez (+54 11 4772 8777, firstname.lastname@example.org or Skype: tucholin.
Leading the charge is Indian vendor VNL, which yesterday launched what it claims is the world’s first 100% solar-powered GSM base station designed specifically for off-grid remote areas. VNL chairman and CEO Rajiv Mehrotra told Show Daily that its WorldGSM(tm) BTS requires almost no opex. The solar panels, which have a life expectancy of 20 years, need to be dusted once a week in most areas.
VNL has developed a solar-powered WorldGSM base station for rural villages officially launched at Singapore’s CommunicAsia trade show yesterday. Rajiv Mehrotra, founder, CEO and chairman of VNL, told Comms Day that the system will provide remote villages with GSM coverage through a model that encourages local entrepreneurs while alleviating the capex and opex obligations for operators.
Rajiv Mehrotra speaks on advantages of solar-powered GSM base stations for rural networks.
Today, power consumption is a critical component of the mobile operators’ network infrastructure. Between two to three billion people, roughly a third of the world’s population, are living in energy poverty, and more than 99% of people without electricity live in developing countries. But saving energy is not the sole preserve of developing nations. In developed countries, the rising cost of energy, and the realisation of environmental concerns, means that operators are looking to save money wherever possible. In Episode 4 of TelecomTV’s Green Planet: The Green Telecoms Network, Anil Raj, Director, VNL, is featured showing a live implementation of VNL’s solar powered Village Site base station configuration, located in Rajasthan, India.
To view the programme on TelecomTV’s site, click here.
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