Top of the VNL Rural site at Chamgang peeps out from the thick foliage of trees.
Bhutan’s first private mobile company Tashi InfoComm Limited (TICL) – popularly known as TashiCell – has selected VNL’s WorldGSM™ solution to connect remote communities in the Himalayan Kingdom. After successful trials in Chamgang in 2012, VNL deployed WorldGSM™ equipment in Tshangkha, Thrimshingla and Gayzore.
Two views of the VNL WorldGSM™ Rural BTS site for Tashicell at Chamgang. Originally deployed as part of the ITU-VNL partnership project for the ITU “Connect a School, Connect a Community” program, the site is now integrated into the TashiCell Bhutan network.
“This is a smart initiative which sets a milestone in driving energy efficient affordable ICT access to rural and remote areas and benefits to communities where they live,” said Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau . “Such an innovative public-private-peoples’ partnership, which promotes mobile,GPRS and broadband access to rural and remote communities, represents an attractive, affordable, inclusive, scalable and sustainable step forward in providing digital opportunities for the people of Bhutan.”
Sweeping view of the valley from the base of the Chamgang site overlooking Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan.
The project is a result of the partnership between the Telecommunication Development Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL), announced at the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference in March 2010. The goal is to make WorldGSM™ solar powered solutions available to village schools and communities, as part of the ITU Connect a School, Connect a Community programme. A Cooperation Agreement between ITU & VNL was signed in December 2010 and a solar power based mobile transmitter was installed in Chamgang, Bhutan, in collaboration with Ministry of Information & Communications and TashiCell.
View from the top of the VNL Rural site-VNL’s WorldGSM™ solution emphasizes the role of compact modular design and small footprint, making it ideal for deployment in any tough terrain. This site is on a mountain slope with thick vegetation where there is hardly any place for the elaborate structures that are typical of traditional GSM solutions.
With a subscriber base of 115,000 and growing, TashiCell is present in all 20 Dzongkhags (administrative and judicial disctricts) of Bhutan, and is expanding operations to cover subscribers in more remote locations. VNL’s WorldGSM™ is a key part of their rollout strategy.
All sites are on mountain slopes usually accessible by a dirt track. That’s where VNL’s compact and lightweight modular equipment comes in handy- conveniently packed into boxes that allow easy handling in tough terrain conditions. Extremes of weather- rain, wind and snow-are another challenge that VNL has overcome in Bhutan. Temperatures at some locations can dip as low as -14 degrees Celsius.
“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.
New Delhi - Friday, 4 June 2010: VNL today announced that its award-winning solar-powered GSM base stations will be used to build ITU sponsored networks in South Asia. The networks are being built as part of the ITU’s Connect a School, Connect a Community initiative, a public-private partnership run by the ITU to promote broadband Internet connectivity for schools in developing countries around the world. The VNL networks will provide both GSM and mobile broadband coverage to schools and villages in remote rural areas in South Asia - and will go live during Q4 2010.
Mr. Rajiv Mehrotra, Founder, Chairman & CEO of VNL (left) and Mr. Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (right) at the quadrennial ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC 10) in Hyderabad, India.
VNL is the first and only company to have found a way of building sustainable telephone networks for the three billion people (half the world’s population) who live in rural areas not covered by a mobile network. Of this number, some 1.6 billion people have no electricity.
VNL’s solar-powered WorldGSM base station has been specifically designed to enable mobile operators to reach remote rural areas where ARPUs are less than $2 a month – and still make a profit.
Mr Rajiv Mehrotra, Founder Chairman and CEO of VNL said:
“The ITU has recognised that our equipment is unlike anything else available on the market today. It was developed for deployments just like these in rural Asia where people have never had access to telephony.”
VNL’s WorldGSM has been installed in more than 50 villages in rural Rajasthan, India’s largest state; for the first time these rural communities have network coverage. Unlike traditional GSM base stations, the village sites need no shelter, air conditioning, mains power, generator or diesel fuel. Operators in Africa and South East Asia are also rolling out networks.
VNL’s pioneering work has been widely praised; In December VNL was named as a technology pioneer by The World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org). In September it was named the third most innovative company - and the most innovative telecoms company – in the world in the Wall Street Journal’s annual Technology Innovation Awards. In November, VNL was selected as a 2009 Top Pick and named as a company to watch in the wireless infrastructure market by Light Reading, a specialist telecoms analyst and publishing house. VNL also won the “best technology foresight” category at the 2008 World Communications Awards and came in second in the “Green Network Hardware and Infrastructure” category at the 2009 CTIA Wireless E-Tech Awards.
For years, operators and GSM equipment vendors have struggled with the same problem: Traditional telecom 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 six years re-engineering GSM to overcome these challenges. The result is WorldGSM – the world’s first truly environmentally sustainable mobile network
For more information, visit www.vnl.in or contact VNL’s international PR representative Bridget Fishleigh: +44 7946 342 903, email@example.com, Skype: bridgetfishleigh. In India, please contactManoj Bhan: +91 99 999 66056, firstname.lastname@example.org (more…)
VNL, a pioneer in green telecom solutions, proudly announces its sponsorship of the Green@ICT Pavilion at ITU Telecom World. The conference and exhibition will be held at the Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland, from October 5 – 9, 2009. The Green Pavilion is lead by the WMO, a UN Agency, and provides a unique environment, showcasing products and solutions that will be driving the Green@ICT agenda forward. These will include on-grid and off-grid energy efficient solutions, methods of monitoring climate change, managing e-waste, and much more.
At the conference, Rajiv Mehrotra, Founder, Chairman and CEO of VNL, will be a panel participant at the Green@ICT Forum discussing solar telecom and its impact, enabling human prosperity in remote areas and rural villages through the use of clean and affordable energy. With its virtually limitless supply, solar power has the potential to extend and power a mobile operator’s network affordably, even in the most remote corners of our planet. Learn how VNL’s WorldGSM™ system can do this today.
VNL’s exhibit space at booth #4040.01, near the Registration area, will introduce mobile network operators to the world’s first completely solar-powered WorldGSM™ solution, 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 people – all resulting in zero opex, dramatically lower capex, and near zero maintenance. WorldGSM™ has 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.
The next billion subscribers will be coming from rural populations, away from saturated urban markets. So if you’re planning to visit ITU Telecom World 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, 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 in Booth 4040.01 to learn more. If you would like to schedule a personal tour, click here.
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VNL (www.vnl.in) is substantially changing the way operators will build networks in the future. As the innovator of zero opex networks and the pioneer of microtelecom, their simple to install solar powered cellular base stations help mobile operators maximize their profit margins by reaching rural markets profitably. The management team includes telecom industry veterans with vast experience in bringing products and services to entirely new markets. Its Founder, Chairman and CEO, Rajiv Mehrotra, started the Shyam Group of companies and established some of the earliest GSM, CDMA and fixed networks in India serving millions of people today.
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