During Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, James Barton of Developing Telecoms met with Rajiv Mehrotra, Founder, Chairman & CEO of VNL to discuss the potential of solar powered network infrastructure to connect the next billion mobile subscribers across the world.
Developing Telecoms recently had the opportunity to speak to VNL Chairman & CEO Rajiv Mehrotra about the firm’s activities in the field of rural connectivity.
A veteran of the telecom industry, Mr Mehrotra was instrumental in projects which brought first cable TV, then wireless telephones to hundreds of thousands of Indian villages. He later founded Shyam Telecom, the flagship of the Shyam Group. Various subsidiaries of the group have launched GSM, CDMA and VSAT services across India.
Mr Mehrotra founded VNL in 2004 as part of his vision to connect the billions of unconnected in rural areas. The company’s solar-powered WorldGSM system is designed for deployment in rural communities, and has enormous potential for emerging markets.
Read more on their web site: Developing Telecoms
The world’s largest GSM conference and expo attracted even more exhibitors and visitors than last year. The show received a staggering increase in attendance and that resulted in even more numbers of attendees visiting our booth.
View of Booth from Hall 2 Entrance at Mobile World Congress 2011
VNL’s booth at #2B47, along with Shyam Telecom and Shyam Networks across the aisle at #2B33, were the largest and most visible in Hall 2. Taking up 234 sqm in total, VNL’s booth showcased an actual Village Site deployment configuration in the VNL booth.
VNL’s booth at Mobile World Congress 2011.
Solar and other alternative energy-based solutions were available all over the floor, from solar, wind, and hybrid systems to a variety of fuel-cells. It is clear that the telecom industry has taken up the mantle to deploy more green telecom solutions in the coming years and many of the operators we spoke with are ready to deploy new green powered technologies in the near future. VNL was busy completing a number of MOUs and orders from the meeting rooms in our booth at the show. These orders are the culmination of the many trial deployments we’ve deployed on three continents over the past year.
Rajiv Mehrotra speaks with Shri. Sachin Pilot, Hon. Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology, Govt. of India at Mobile World Congress 2011
The bottom line? In our opinion, Africa is at the forefront, with more mobile operators at the testing or deployment stage using non-traditional power sources for their mobile networks. Latin America is showing signs of increased use of green telecom, especially for intra-city coverage along highways. Asia, for VNL, has more deployments on the ground now, radiating and starting to connect the next billion. We were glad to be able to present our products to a seasoned crowd of operators already working in the same direction – connecting rural networks in a sustainable and affordable manner that serves the underserved across the world.
Rajiv Mehrotra discusses how mobile operators can become broadband service providers with minimal investment with Dr. J. S. Sarma, Chairperson, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India at Mobile World Congress 2011
Signage at the show covered VNL’s unique Cascading Star Architecture and new Infrastructure Sharing concept to visitors to the booth.
Rajiv Mehrotra discusses VNL’s new multi-operator infrastructure sharing capabilities with Shri. Sachin Pilot, Hon. Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology, Govt. of India at Mobile World Congress 2011
Rajiv Mehrotra introduces Cascading Star Architecture with Broadband to visitors to the booth.
VNL’s pioneering work has been widely praised: in December, VNL won the Telecom Asia Readers Choice Award. In 2010, Fast Company named VNL one of the “Fast 50: The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies”. In December, 2009, VNL was named as a Technology Pioneer 2010 by The World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org). In November, 2009, 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. In September, 2009, 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. VNL also won the “Best Technology Foresight” category at the 2008 World Communications Awards and came second in the “Green Network Hardware and Infrastructure” category at the 2009 CTIA Wireless E-Tech Awards.
Rajiv Mehrotra, Founder, Chairman & CEO of VNL, speaks with visitors to the booth.
Davos, Switzerland – January 25, 2011: VNL and Boston-Power, two World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Award recipients, today announced a cooperation intended to provide long lasting, green energy storage to a telecommunications solution that is already delivering the transformative capability of cellular and broadband services to rural geographies worldwide, outside the reach of the mobile telecommunications network footprint.
Fellow 2010 Technology Pioneer Award winners Rajiv Mehrotra, founder, chairman and CEO of Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL), and Dr. Christina Lampe-Önnerud, founder and CEO of Boston-Power, were first introduced in January 2010 at the 40th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Their discussions quickly prompted a resolution for their firms to investigate deploying technology available today that exemplifies their shared belief in the power of innovation to bring about positive change in society.
Olivier Schwab, Director, Head of Technology Pioneers stated:
“The joint efforts of VNL and Boston-Power represent precisely the sort of collaboration The World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers Programme fosters. These companies are tangible proof that entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and a commitment to the greater good play key roles in shaping and improving society. We wish them every success in their dedication to benefiting the lives of the enormous number of people around the globe living in developing, underserved communities.”
VNL’s WorldGSM™ is the industry’s first microtelecom solution, a complete solar-powered GSM and broadband system optimized for the more than two billion individuals who live in rural areas outside of the mobile telecommunications network footprint. These individuals typically have less than US$2 a month to spend on a mobile service.
At the heart of the VNL’s WorldGSM™ solution is a compact solar-powered base station that draws no power from the electricity grid and is designed for easy set-up – in less than half a day – by individuals without technical expertise. It requires no air conditioning or shelter and runs on the power of a light bulb. Boston-Power’s lithium-ion battery system is currently being tested by VNL for deployment in customer field trials to provide a long life option for energy storage.
Boston-Power’s innovation in extended cycle life, dependable performance in extreme climates, high energy density in terms of both weight and footprint, and safety make it a compelling alternative for providing cost-effective (in terms of total cost of ownership), reliable energy storage for VNL WorldGSM™ base stations. In addition, Boston-Power’s standing as the only battery of its type certified by the world’s most stringent eco-certifying bodies simplifies VNL’s recycling efforts.
Boston-Power’s lithium-ion technology will store the solar energy collected by the VNL WorldGSM™ base station, supporting its existing ability to operate for at least three days when solar energy is not available. VNL WorldGSM™ systems powered by Boston-Power are currently undergoing testing; larger scale deployment is expected to start in various geographies in 2011.
Mr. Mehrotra stated:
“From the moment I met Dr. Lampe-Önnerud, I recognized we shared the same deep belief in the boundless good that technological innovation can bring. That Boston-Power’s pioneering work in lithium-ion energy storage could play a role in our own WorldGSM solution was also clear. It’s gratifying to see conversations begun at The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting translate into meaningful initiatives not even a year later. In our mission to connect the unconnected with affordable voice and broadband services, this development holds great promise.”
Dr. Lampe-Önnerud added:
“Our mission is to build a company that makes a difference and our collaboration with VNL is an excellent example. We commend the important work that VNL is doing and are committed to supporting Mr. Mehrotra and his team to bring its innovative solution to an enormous, underserved population. We also applaud the vital mission of The World Economic Forum in serving as a catalyst to bring together innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world.”
The prestigious World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer award recognizes the most innovative start-ups from around the world that will have a critical impact on the future of business and society. The identification of the Technology Pioneers is the result of a vigorous selection process for which the Forum received hundreds of applications from around the world, evaluated by a panel of dozens of global technology experts.
VNL (www.vnl.in) is substantially changing the way operators will build networks to connect rural and remote areas in the future. As the innovator of zero OPEX networks and the pioneer of Microtelecom, their simple to install solar powered base stations help mobile operators build a viable business by reaching rural markets profitably. VNL’s award-winning WorldGSM™ is a new approach to delivering affordable voice and broadband services to these markets viably and sustainably. It’s the first example of Microtelecom, the re-engineering of telecommunications to meet the needs of rural and remote communities. The management team includes telecom industry veterans with vast experience in bringing products and services to entirely new markets. Its Founder, Chairman & 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. For more information, visit the company website at www.vnl.in.
Boston-Power, Inc. is an award-winning provider of next-generation lithium-ion battery technology. Designed to fuel a wide range of applications, its flagship offering, Sonata®, serves as the foundation for a new era of longer lasting, faster charging, safer and environmentally sustainable notebook computer batteries. The company’s Swing™ product delivers unmatched capabilities for Battery Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (BEV/PHEV), and utility energy storage applications. Founded in 2005 and with more than 130 patents filed, Boston-Power is led by Founder and CEO Dr. Christina Lampe-Önnerud, an internationally recognized innovator, entrepreneur and technology advisor with regard to portable power, energy storage and climate change. To date, the company has raised $191 million in venture funding and has earned accolades for its executive leadership and technology from organizations that include The Wall Street Journal, the World Economic Forum, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA). Boston-Power is headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts, and has Six Sigma-level mass manufacturing operations in Asia.
CHEN PR for Boston-Power
mobile: +91 98112 01999
Nomad Communications for VNL
mobile : +44 7946 342 903
# # #
Boston-Power®, Sonata® and Swing™ are trademarks of Boston-Power, Inc. Other brand names or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. VNL® and the VNL logo are registered trademarks of Vihaan Networks Limited.
VNL announces its participation again at GSMA’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 14th – 17th, 2011.
VNL’s participation will announce 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 Mobile World Congress 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
VNL has been named as the winner of the best green infrastructure provider category at Telecom Asia’s 3rd Readers’ Choice Awards.
Twenty-one equipment and software suppliers received twenty-seven awards, which were presented on December 9th, 2010 at a ceremony in Hong Kong. Executives from AT&T, BT, C&W Worldwide, China Telecom, China Unicom, CSL, Global Crossings, Hong Kong Broadband Network, Hutchison Telecom, NTT Com Asia, Orange Business Services, SmartTone-Vodafone, Telecom Malaysia, Telstra International and Verizon Business were on hand to celebrate with the winners.
Read more by clicking here: http://www.telecomasia.net/content/ta-reader-choice-awards-2010-winner-list
Futurecom is the largest telecom conference and trade show in South America, held in Sao Paulo, Brazil every Autumn, bringing over 15,000 attendees from over 40 countries. This year, VNL hosted a 150 sqm booth located at B10.
At the show, we announced that we were actively looking for both resellers and manufacturing partners. As a company focused on being green and socially responsible, VNL is looking to manufacture or source most of the components locally that are not part of our core business, and our mission is to create these jobs locally with local partners. Some of our staff were able to tour different local factories (enjoying a delicious lunch of spicy pan-fried crocodile during one road trip!) to ascertain the capabilities of potential partners. This is a critically important goal for VNL. Shipping steel to the farthest corners of the planet from India, while feasible, is not the most green or socially responsible methodology available. Our business model is to do good while building a profitable business, and our business is low power GSM and broadband for rural areas.
The introduction of broadband to our offering caused a stir with local operators. Many were incredulous when they saw the technology at the booth and were inspired to get started. They immediately understood how VNL’s WorldGSM™ technology could impact the rural areas of their countries and were eager to learn more.
Rajiv Mehrotra, Founder, Chairman & CEO of VNL was interviewed by Telesemana where he discussed why VNL was entering the Latin America market and the synergies between India and Brazil. He also presented “Using Solar Power to Deploy Networks in Low Economy Rural Areas” which was well attended by operators, press and analysts.
Sao Paulo, Brazil — 26th October, 2010: VNL (www.vnl.in) today announced the launch of broadband capability as part of their solar powered telecom infrastructure solutions for the Latin American market. Their award-winning WorldGSM™ solution is solar powered and specifically made for rural areas with ARPUs of less than $2 – $3.
WorldGSM™ is the first commercially available 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.
High speed broadband internet access enables village children to take advantage of distance learning and other e-learning initiatives, while the village community can utilize the system for e-medicine, e-finance and e-governance tasks. VNL has found a new way to extend networks sustainably using simple, affordable structures that bring voice and broadband connectivity to rural areas, all at a very low ARPU that is attractive to operators.
VNL’s turnkey rural network solution enables rural communities to access mobile phone services and high speed internet (outdoor & indoor) without depending on the power grid or diesel generators to run the network. Traditional models of infrastructure have proved to be unviable in rural areas because of the huge demand for power and the high OPEX as a result of running networks on diesel in the absence of grid power.
Speaking at Futurecom, Rajiv Mehrotra, Founder, Chairman of the Shyam Group of companies said:
“We believe that we have an exciting new range of solutions which are ideal for the markets of Latin America. “The demand for high-speed data networks in rural is a need unmet, and we are here at the right time. Our solar powered rural broadband network solution is an example of affordable and sustainable technology to connect remote communities.
We are actively looking for partners in the region to take our plans forward. The essence of VNL’s vision is to develop strategic local partnerships at all levels. We are also considering investing in manufacturing in Brazil. We are open to technology collaboration with companies based in Brazil to take our solutions to the remote interiors where millions of people are waiting to be connected. We are on a mission to connect the unconnected, and we will share know how to those who join hands with us.
We are also extremely hopeful that the Brazilian Government will find our green solution ideal to connect the unconnected in a sustainable way, paving the way for development. The response from everyone at Futurecom has been tremendous.”
The solutions are on display at Booth # B10, Futurecom, Transamerica Expo Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil from October 25th through 28th, 2010.
Award Barcelona Base station Biofuel Cleantech communicasia Diesel Energy Event Fuel Globalwarming Green Growth GSM GSMA India Infrastructure innovation Interview Microfinance Microtelecom Mobile Mobile World Congress MWC Network networks News Oil Phone Photo Power press Rajiv Mehrotra Rural Singapore Solar Solar powered Sustainability Telecom The Microtelecom Revolution Blog Trade Show Village VNL wireless WorldGSM