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23 Apr

WorldGSM™ : helping villages in Ghana go mobile

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Apr 23, 2014

Base of VNL WorldGSM™ 2TRX Rural Site for MTN at Dakpiemyli.The solar panels provide 3 day power autonomy. The mast is 30m high.

VNL has successfully completed trials of its solar powered WorldGSM™ rural GSM solution for MTN Ghana at two remote village locations, Zinido and Dakpiemyli in the Tamale region of Northern Ghana in June 2013. Zinido (population: just over 2000 with 320 mud hut dwellings) is slightly larger than Dakpiemyli (population:around 1500 with 230 dwellings -most of them farmers). Both villages lack modern infrastructure like roads and power supply.

VNL provides autonomy of 3 days at the 2-2 TRX remote site with 12 solar panels in a compact array.

Before the trials, village residents were forced to leave their homes and walk up to 5 kms in search of a GSM signal to operate their mobile phone. (See the “talking tree picture”).MTN found the VNL WorldGSM™ solution to be tailormade for this kind of problem. One of the guiding principles for the clean sheet design of the WorldGSM™ rural solution is to provide good signal quality in the village, inside homes. No compromises.

The MTN Zinido site is a 2-2 TRX configuration site and the Dakpiemyli site is a 2TRX configuration. Both have 3 days autonomy in a region with heavy rains throughout the year.The existing MTN transmission at Tampion and Banvim has been extended to Zinido and Dakpimyli respectively, using VNL’s own IP transmission solution.

Another view of VNL WorldGSM™ 2TRX Rural Site for MTN at Dakpiemyli. Notice the protective perimeter fencing. In some deployments across the globe VNL has successfully deployed video surveillance, video analytics and public address systems as part of a complete security requirement against acts of vandalism and theft.

VNL’s WorldGSM™ solutions are deployed in Ghana in partnership with local companySubah Infosolutions Ghana Limited (link: http://www.subahghana.com/) who are committed to bringing the most innovative technology solutions to Ghana to address the unique challenges of clients such as MTN.VNL’s sustainable solar powered rural GSM and broadband solution is ideal for remote locations where affordable services are badly required but can only be offered if operating costs are within limits to give a viable business case.

Mud huts in Zinido village seen through the perimeter fencing at the VNL site.

The two sites are now commercial revenue generating sites within the MTN Ghana network and provide GSM and GPRS service to over 3000 subscribers generating roughly 200 erlang of voice traffic daily. The mobile network is used primarily by people in the village to speak to their children who are employed in other towns or to connect to someone travelling outside the village area.

 
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