Hon. Danson Mwazo, Tourism Minister of Kenya cutting the ribbon and inaugurating the VNL WorldGSM™ Village Site for Safaricom at Jora Village. Also seen: Ms. Sylvia Mulinge – GM Enterprise Business Unit, Safaricom.
Moving ahead in its ambitious plans to expand network coverage and reach subscribers in remote uncovered locations of Kenya, leading mobile operator Safaricom has deployed VNL’s solar powered WorldGSM™ base stations in Bungule and Jora in Taita Taveta County of Kenya.
The inauguration of the first solar powered VNL Rural site was held on August 17, 2012 at Bungule followed by the inauguration of a VNL Village Site at village Jora close by.
VNL WorldGSM™ Village Site in village Jora, Kenya. Top view (L) and solar panels (R).
The ceremonial ribbon cutting was done by Hon. Danson Mwazo, Tourism Minister of Kenya, who is also the Member of Parliament for the area. A local custom (akin to knighthood) of conferring the status of Taita Elder on the Hon. Minister was attended by hundreds of village folk including over 150 students of the school.
The ribbon cutting was accompanied by a Cultural Show of dance and music and speeches at the Jora Primary School. This school is located in Jora Village about 3kms off the road leading to Tanzania through Tsavo West National Park.
Children from the village school watching the event.
Senior team members from Safaricom were present as the solar powered GSM site was dedicated to the people of Bungule. They included Ms. Sylvia Mulinge - GM Enterprise Business Unit, Mr. Robert Mutai - Network Engineering Head, and Mr.Nick Mruttu – Head of Consumer Sales.
Mr.Mutai, commenting on VNL’s WorldGSM™ solution said that it was the first of its kind solar /battery hybrid powered GSM solution with such a high level of integration in a village site.
Preparing for dance and music for the event.
Located in Kenya’s coastal region nearly 360 kms from the capital Nairobi, Bungule is sparsely populated and not very developed. It falls under Voi constituency of Taita Taveta County, and lies on the edge of the Tsavo National Park. In the past, subscribers of Safaricom in Bungule and Jora had to go quite a distance from their homes –up to the highway in many cases – in search of a signal for their phone. Often they ran into wild animals that posed grave danger to their lives. Faced with these challenges quite a few users became dormant. Now connecting to family, friends and the outside world is convenient - thanks to VNL’s solar powered WorldGSM™ base station that Safaricom chose for this location. Today there are close to 500 active subscribers.
Bungule and Jora have a harsh terrain.
So far VNL has deployed 1 Rural RBTS site (2/2/2 TRX) and 1 Village VBTS (2TRX) in Bungule. Both these sites work independent of the power grid and require no diesel generator backup. These completely solar powered base stations provide GSM services with an autonomy of 3 days. The VNL NOC in Nairobi reports that the VNL VBTS is picking 70-85 Erlang traffic and the overall traffic (RBTS +VBTS) which is around 160-180 Erlang per day. The sites are Broadband ready and in the next phase Safaricom will plan Wi-Fi access in the local area.
Similar sites deployed by VNL elsewhere in Africa have yielded savings of around US $24,000 per site each year.
Rajiv Mehrotra Chairman & CEO VNL said,” VNL is delighted to partner Safaricom and bring the benefits of its Zero Opex WorldGSM™ solution to the network and empower the lives of the people of Bungule.”
Administrator USOF Mr. Ajay Bhattacharya handing over the
Certificate of Completion to Mr. Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman & CEO of VNL.
New Delhi, August 10 2011
The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, has awarded certificate of successful completion of project to Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL), an Indian manufacturer of telecommunications infrastructure equipment, establishing benefits of its new technological development of GSM Cellular Rural Telephony Solution to address the challenges of the rural telecom sector. The certificate was presented to VNL by the Administrator USOF Mr. Ajay Bhattacharya, who expressed his happiness on the successful completion of the project.
The USOF has found VNL’s WorldGSM™ solution to be: environmentally-friendly and suitable for deployment in Rural and Remote villages; industrial areas with low capacity requirement; and isolated areas which have limited or no grid power and poor infrastructure.
VNL’s WorldGSM™ telecom network infrastructure solution for remote locations, villages and small towns provides both voice and data (broadband).
VNL had entered into a MoU with the USOF in September 2009, and has successfully completed the Pilot Project for demonstration of the capabilities of its Rural Mobile GSM Solution in Alwar District of Rajasthan, India, in association with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL).
According to the USOF, the VNL system successfully demonstrated the following salient features:
The USO certificate was awarded following a year long deployment of VNL’s solar-powered, zero OPEX GSM system developed specifically for remote rural areas where there is little or no electricity and ARPUs are less than $2-3 a month.
VNL’s zero opex network solution was used to provide mobile services to around 30 villages in Alwar District, Rajasthan, across an area of 200 square kilometers, not covered by BSNL’s existing network. It was tested by a team comprising officers of the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC), Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) and USOF.
Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman & CEO of VNL said, “As an Indian company involved in innovation and manufacturing of high tech telecom infrastructure solutions, we are proud to receive this Certificate from USO. VNL is on a mission to connect the unconnected using sustainable models and we are delighted with the results in Rajasthan. We are grateful to the Government of India, USOF and BSNL, for encouraging us to demonstrate the capabilities of our rural GSM and broadband solution”.
VNL’s pioneering work has been widely praised; In 2010, it was named as a Technology Pioneer by The World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org) and the third most innovative company - and the most innovative telecoms company – in the world in the Wall Street Journal’s annual Technology Innovation Awards, 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. VNL also won the “best technology foresight” category at the World Communications Awards and came second in the “Green Network Hardware and Infrastructure” category at the CTIA Wireless E-Tech Awards.
VNL equipment is also deployed in networks in South Asia, Africa, Central and South America.
About VNL (www.vnl.in)
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 WorldGSMTM – the world’s first truly environmentally sustainable voice and data network.
VNL is a member of the Shyam group of companies – India’s leading diversified telecommunications group (www.shyam.co.in)
For more information go to www.vnl.in or contact:
VNL’s International PR Rep. Bridget Fishleigh Call : +44 7946 342 903
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Skype: bridgetfishleigh
VNL’s India PR :Manoj Bhan Call : +91 99 999 66056
E Mail: email@example.com
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