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Going rural, going green 27 Jun, 2008

There has been some recent buzz around the rural opportunity. And about the need for sustainable energy sources.

Everyone wants to get connected. Mobile operators want to reach new growth markets. And oil is, after all, going extinct.

On the 24th of June, The Economic Times wrote that:

“The government is considering a proposal by which companies using solar or biogas power for running the rural telecom infrastructure would be subsidised.”

India’s Department of Telecom (DoT) has, according to Economic Times, around Rs 15,000 crore of unutilised money under the USOF (Universal Services Obligation Fund) scheme and is finding ways to spend it.

Unstrung Insider recently released the report “Mobile Networks Go Green: The Lean Base Station” which examines the opportunities for using sustainable energy sources to power radio sites in remote areas.

John Blau, research analyst at Unstrung, recently underlined the importance of new energy sources:

The growth in mobile networks over the next few years will come from emerging markets. Of the more than 1.5 billion new subscribers from emerging markets by 2015, nearly two thirds live in remote parts of the world, where access to electric grids isn’t guaranteed.”

The most common way to reach areas where there’s no power grid is to deploy conventional base stations with diesel generators. And even in emerging market cities, the power grid is often so unreliable that diesel generators have to run several hours every day to keep the mobile network running.

Unstrung estimates that around 1 million new base stations will be needed to extend connectivity to rural areas in emerging markets.

The good news is spelled WorldGSM™ – VNL’s complete GSM system that helps mobile operators reach rural markets profitably.

We also have a new white paper in the works about the mobile energy crisis. It’s coming soon, and will explain mobile operator’s power woes further.

It will also provide ideas for how the mobile industry can move forward sustainably. Which is, actually, the only way forward.

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