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Cellular news: “Solar Powered GSM Platform Launched – Trials in India”

Telecom equipment vendor, VNL has launched a solar powered GSM platform which the company says needs between 50W and 120W of power to operate (compared to 3000 W for a typical GSM base station). A WorldGSM base station is entirely powered by solar energy with a 72 hour battery back-up in place (also charged by solar power).

The system also includes a rural-optimised MSC (Mobile Switching Centre), and a compact BSC (Base Station Controller) – making WorldGSM a complete, end-to-end GSM network.

India-based Luke Thomas, from the research and consulting company Frost & Sullivan, says: “India is the fastest growing telecoms market in the world but some urban areas have already reached saturation point. VNL has opened up a whole new area of subscriber and revenue growth for operators by building a commercial – and profitable – GSM system to service remote low-density rural areas.”

VNL has estimated that mobile networks in India alone require 2 billion litres of diesel every year to power back-up diesel generators.

Indian infrastructure provider, Quippo Telecom Infrastructure will be trialling WorldGSM in rural areas of India in the near future. Following the successful completion of the trial, QTIL expects to roll out a complete commercial network that will be fully integrated with the networks of existing operators.

VNL’s CEO, Anil Raj, founded Hutch India in 1994 and served as its CEO before moving to Ericsson as President of its India operations.

Anil says: “Telecoms operators and equipment manufacturers have traditionally failed to deliver GSM to rural areas for the simple reason that it’s just too difficult and ultimately not sustainable. There’s no power, no engineers, no infrastructure, a difficult terrain, low density – and, most importantly, low subscriber revenues. VNL’s equipment has overcome these challenges and provides operators with a truly viable way to connect the next billion mobile users.”

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