Way back in 2004, VNL began its journey to develop WorldGSM™ – a completely solar powered GSM and broadband network solution for rural and remote locations. Top of the agenda: cut down power consumption and remove diesel from the equation – otherwise network viability and profitability would never be possible. In the past 7 years we’ve watched as green power has moved from the domain of CSR initiative to the centre of the OPEX debate.
How bad is the diesel problem? Let’s start with India: According to E&Y and FICCI * “Currently, telecom towers consume an average of about 5-6 kilo watt of energy coupled with an average of 8 hours of diesel generator running time due to power outages. On average, 27 million units of electricity are consumed per day. Average diesel consumption per site per hour is about 2.5 liters, translating to 6 million liters of diesel per day. This translates to consumption of more than 2 billion liters of diesel per year for cell sites, which is subsidized by GoI.”
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India estimates the diesel challenge as follows: “India has presently around 400,000 telecom towers, with average power consumption per tower being 3 to 4 kW. Assuming 8 hours of operation by DG sets, an average fuel consumption of 8760 liters of diesel every year per tower, total carbon emission on account of diesel use by telecom towers is estimated to be around 10mt of CO2, while the emissions on account of power drawn from the grid by towers is estimated to be around 6mt of CO2.”
Africa has a similar story to tell.
In a recent article in extensia on Telcos in Nigeria eying alternative power to run the network the figures are staggering: between MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat, there are 20,000 base stations that consume a total of 49.5 million liters of diesel to power the sites every month, at a total cost of N8.4 billion. All this, for Nigeria alone.
The rising costs of energy bills can actually force some CEO’s to comment that a way to address this is to hike call rates. See this interesting article from Balancing Act here.
VNL is clear. The long term solution lies in reducing the power consumption to a level that a renewable solution is justifiable on all counts: Capex, Opex, and Payback. VNL has been at the forefront of the “diesel free network” revolution. In Africa VNL deployments of it’s WorldGSM™ solar powered voice and data network solution in rural locations have saved $2000 per site per month by removing diesel from the equation. Compared to a traditional site in a rural area a 222 configuration VNL Rural site can give up to $30,000 in savings each year– considering that outages run as high as 16 hours a day in many cases.
Going green is Green is good for business. WorldGSM™ is showing the way!!
“I feel like I’m human now, not cut-off from my world, no longer isolated” were the words of Ram Kishan, in a village of Alwar district ,commenting on the power of his mobile phone, in an interview for the ITU-UN film “ICT’s for a Better Future”. His village was connected to the BSNL Rajasthan network through VNL’s solar powered GSM and Broadband solution as part of a pilot project for India’s USO Fund. You can see the film clip of Ram Kishan’s village and VNL’s solar powered WorldGSM™ base station here:
Mobile phones are driving economic growth in the developing world. But that’s not all – networks in developing countries also have valuable lessons to offer the West. Read more in this interesting article by Suzie Christodulu in cellular-news.
The world’s largest industry defining B2B event in telecommunications attracted over 67,000 attendees this year. Nearly 1,500 companies showcased their organisations through exhibition stands and hospitality space across eight halls at the spectacular Fira Montjuïc venue, covering a space of 58,000 square meters.
VNL’s stand was in Hall 2, showcasing the award winning WorldGSM™ solar powered GSM and Broadband solution. This year the theme of the stall was “Green is Good for Business” and VNL focused on sites from Africa and South Asia where operators realized Opex savings of up to $24,000 per site in a year – much the same savings that VNL has delivered across the world in different operator networks.
The centre of attention at the VNL stand was a real life Village Base Station (VBTS) which, with 2 solar panels, occupied a space of just 2×2 meters on the floor of the stand. VNL also shared details of the WorldGSM™ solution developed for remote islands in Indonesia to deliver affordable GSM & Broadband services to rural communities on these islands. VNL’s Zero Opex and payback theme attracted a large number of visitors from the telecom world who were interested in knowing more about VNL’s deployments and the results.
On 29th February, Rajiv Mehrotra Chairman & CEO, participated in a panel discussion on “Networks: Infrastructure Costs in The Age of Austerity” - in today’s environment of austerity, operators are rethinking business models and searching out new solutions and revisiting old ones to deliver lower-cost networks. This lively session highlighted some of the most outstanding examples of ingenuity from across the world.
Also on display at the VNL stand for the very first time were special applications of VNL’s GSM and Broadband innovation used for privately owned and managed communication networks in remote industrial locations and strategic operations.
In today’s environment of austerity, operators are rethinking business models, searching out new solutions and revisiting old ones to deliver lower-cost networks. This session highlights some of the most outstanding examples of ingenuity and shows how operators around the world can employ similar measures.
Networks: Infrastructure Costs In The Age Of Austerity
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
1:45 PM to 3:15 PM Local Time (CET)
Location: Hall 5 - Room 6
VNL will be showcasing the dramatic OPEX savings achieved by WorldGSM™ sites deployed in Africa and the powerful payback proposition on CAPEX invested in these sites. For years we have heard that renewables take too long for payback. VNL’s WorldGSM™ solution is changing this perception across the world – captured in its current campaign -‘Green is Good for Business’.
In Africa, WorldGSM™ sites have saved upto $24,000 a year per site in diesel expenses alone.This will be of special interest to mobile operators and tower companies alike, as they search for ways to reduce high OPEX on account of huge diesel expenses to power their rural and remote sites in the absence of reliable grid power.
VNL’s solar powered WorldGSM™ Village Base Station (VBTS) will be on display at the stand.
VNL makes the award-winning WorldGSM™ solution - the sustainable GSM & Broadband network infrastructure solution specifically made for areas with ARPUs of less than $2. WorldGSM™ is the first commercially viable GSM & Broadband solution that is independent of the power grid. It requires no grid power or diesel generator backup. It is also designed for simple delivery and deployment by local, untrained workers – all resulting in zero OPEX, dramatically lower CAPEX, and near zero maintenance.
The next billion subscribers will be coming from rural populations, away from saturated urban markets. If you’re planning on visiting Mobile World Congress 2012, stop by VNL’s stand and see the future of rural voice and data networks. VNL is changing the DNA of rural telecom by providing commercially viable new building blocks that will transform the way you build your networks in the future.
Visit us in Stand #2B33 to learn more.
Click here to arrange an appointment to see WorldGSM™ in the booth.
VNL participated at India Telecom 2011 held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, from December 7-9, 2011. The show, with the theme “m-Powering India” was organized by Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India, in association with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). It was the sixth year of this international exhibition and conference showcasing India’s success story in telecom to the world.
VNL and Shyam were Principal Sponsors of the event.
India Telecom 2011 was inaugurated in the morning of 7th December 2011, by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh at the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) Bhavan, followed by the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Pragati Maidan venue by Shri Milind Deora, Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications & IT, Govt.of India.
Rajiv Mehrotra, Founder Chairman of VNL, participated in the afternoon conference session entitled ‘Socio-economic impact of mobile connectivity’. Mr. Mehrotra made a thought provoking presentation on ‘Sustainable Energy Solutions for Rural India’ which was well received by the audience. Other distinguished panelists included Mr. Fredrik Jejdling, Managing Director and Head of Region, Ericsson India, Mr. Prashanth V Adiraju, Director, New Platforms Business Group, Intel South Asia ,Mr. Sandeep Girotra, Head of India Region, Nokia Siemens Networks and Dr. B. K. Gairola, Director General, NIC. Shri. R. Chandrashekhar, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India, chaired the session.
At the exhibition, VNL put up an impressive display of its products and solutions, clearly reflecting the leadership status of Shyam group companies in indigenous ‘Indian Product’ innovation. The VNL-Shyam stand was the centre of attention with live demonstration of the WorldGSM™ rural network solution for delivering cost-effective GSM and broadband services to rural India and a display of innovative solutions for networks in metros and urban areas. Visitors were very eager to learn more about WorldGSM™ and ‘Gurukul’ -VNL’s completely solar powered Village Internet Kiosk solution, that provides broadband access through Wi-Fi connectivity with VNL’s solar powered base station.
Mr. Mehrotra personally introduced Shri Sachin Pilot Hon’ble MOS (C & IT) and Shri Milind Deora, Hon’ble MOS (C & IT) to VNL’s award winning rural connectivity solution. The Ministers took a keen interest in understanding how VNL provided a viable business case for mobile operators to rapidly roll out GSM and broadband networks in rural areas and address the challenges of poor rural tele-density and the digital divide. He presented in great detail how VNL’s technology was transforming the lives of villagers living in rural areas, while at the same time enabling mobile operators to make a profit even at very low ARPUs. They were very interested in learning more about how VNL’s rural solution required no connections to the electrical grid, or any expensive diesel generators.
Many senior representatives from different wings of the Government visited the VNL-Shyam stand and had detailed interactions with the team to understand all aspects of the indigenous ‘Indian Product’ innovations on display. These included officials from DOT, TEC, TRAI, TDSAT, BSNL, MTNL, Defense and Paramilitary organisations - Army, Air Force, NSG and CISF - and several other ministries and departments. A large number of young students were also seen on all days of the show going about the stand asking lots of questions and taking notes on the solar powered rural GSM and broadband network solution.
India Telecom was a resounding success in reaffirming the leadership status of VNL and Shyam in the telecom equipment R&D and manufacturing sector in India.
VNL will be participating next at Mobile World Congress, February 27-March1 2011 in Barcelona, Spain-Stand#2B47. If you weren’t able to attend India Telecom, and are planning to be in Barcelona in February, register now to see the latest from India’s leading telecommunications infrastructure innovation company.
Enterprise India, sponsored by the Indian Embassy and CII, started with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by His Excellency Dr. Y. S. Seshadri, India’s Ambassador to Myanmar, His Excellency Mr. Soe Thane (Ministry of Industry I &II), His Excellency, Win Myint (Ministry of Commerce), and His Excellency Myint Swe (Yangon Division Prime Minister) and Sanjay Kirloskar, Mission Leader and Chairman of CII ASEAN/ANZ Regional Committee.
Ravi Ailawadhi, CEO of Shyam Networks represented both VNL and Shyam at the show. He personally introduced the Ambassador and Ministers to VNL’s Village Site and explained how VNL can help transform the lives of Myanmar’s villagers living in rural areas, while at the same time enabling mobile operators to make a profit even at very low ARPUs. They were very interested in learning more about how VNL’s systems require no connections to the electrical grid, or any expensive diesel generators. They were very happy to learn that VNL is interested in finding local manufacturing partners to source components of VNL’s systems within Myanmar itself.
During the first day, Mr. Ailawadhi was also interviewed by SkyNet, one of Myanmar’s major TV channels where he discussed VNL’s offering for Myanmar and how access to telephony services and broadband can dramatically change a village for the better, opening up e-learning and e-health, expose locals to potential job opportunities, as well as providing a platform for local business to expand their market range. These types of added benefits is a vital end result of VNL’s GSM & broadband plan for Myanmar’s rural areas.
On the second day of the show, Mr. Ailawadhi introduced VNL’s solution to His Excellency, Thura Thiha Tin Aung Myint Oo, Vice President of the Union of the Republic of Myanmar. Minister of Ministries, His Excellency Myint Swe, accompanied the Vice President.
Later in the day, VNL had the pleasure of meeting with Aung Myint Htun, Joint Secretary General of the Mandalay Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Jeanne-Elise M. Heydecker, AVP Marketing for VNL, explained the value proposition of VNL’s solution and detailed some of the benefits of bringing affordable telecommunications and internet to the villages of Myanmar. Mr. Htun videotaped the presentation in order to share the information with the Chambers’ members at their next meeting.
VNL announces its participation at India Telecom 2011 in New Delhi, India, 7th - 9th December, 2011.
VNL’s participation will focus on the addition of broadband services as part of their award-winning WorldGSM™ solution worldwide - the solar powered GSM network infrastructure equipment specifically made for rural areas with ARPUs of less than $2. WorldGSM™ is the first commercially viable GSM system that is independent of the power grid. It runs exclusively on solar power and requires no diesel generator backup. It is also designed for simple delivery and deployment by local, untrained workers – all resulting in zero OPEX, dramatically lower CAPEX, and near zero maintenance.
The next billion subscribers will be coming from rural populations, away from saturated urban markets. If you’re planning on visiting India Telecom 2011, stop by VNL’s booth and see the future of rural wireless telephony. VNL is changing the DNA of rural telecom by providing commercially viable new building blocks that will transform the way you build your networks in the future.
Visit us at India Telecom 2011, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, Hall 8-11, Booth #10-24, to learn more.
Also Visit VNL at:
* February 27 – March 1, 2012: Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain – Booth #2B47
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