PRESS RELEASE: VNL’s Solar Powered GSM Base Station Short-Listed at 2009 CTIA Emerging Technology Awards 25 Mar, 2009

March 25 2009 – VNL’s solar powered GSM system is one of just four entries short-listed in the “Green Network Hardware and Infrastructure category” category at the CTIA’s E-Tech awards.

VNL’s WorldGSM is the first solar powered GSM system specifically designed to enable mobile operators in the developing world to build networks in remote rural areas where ARPUs are low – and still make a profit.

Created in 2006, The CTIA E-Tech Awards programme is designed to give industry recognition and exposure to the best wireless products and services.

This year the awards attracted almost 300 entries which were reviewed by a panel of recognised members of the media, industry analysts and executives. Products are judged on innovation, functionality, technological importance, implementation and overall “wow” factor. Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola, Cisco, Qualcomm, NSN, Huawei and Samsung all have products short-listed in various categories. The solar powered chargers of Suntrica, a partner of VNL, has also been short-listed in the Green Network Hardware and Infrastructure category of the awards.

Winners will be announced and awarded at the show on April 2 (

For years, operators and GSM equipment vendors have struggled with the same problem: traditional GSM 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 five years re-engineering GSM to overcome these challenges. The highlights of VNL’s WorldGSM system:

  • Zero opex – made possible by major reductions in power consumption; allowing for the use of solar power as the single energy source. No diesel generators are required.
  • Low capex – priced at less than a quarter of traditional GSM base stations so profitable at very low densities and ARPU levels
  • Rural-optimized and easy to transport – compact and rugged; can even be transported on bullock carts.
  • Self-deploying and near-zero maintenance – easily installed and maintained by local workers.
  • Solar powered – needs only 50 – 120W per base station compared to the 3000W required for traditional GSM. Each site can be powered by a 2-8m² solar panel, rather than the 200 m² panel required to power a traditional GSM base station.

WorldGSM also opens up a new microtelecom business model – involving microfinance – where operators can partner with local entrepreneurs to accelerate deployment and reduce costs still further.

Anil Raj, VNL Board Member, says:

“The industry recognises that VNL has finally provided operators with a truly viable way to build profitable networks to serve rural communities with low ARPUs”.

Last November WorldGSM won the “best technology foresight” category at the World Communications Awards.

For more information, visit the company website at or contact VNL’s PR representative Bridget Fishleigh (+44 7946 342 903, or Skype: bridgetfishleigh).


VNL ( – the innovator of zero opex networks and pioneer of microtelecom – helps mobile operators reach rural markets profitably. The management team includes telecom industry veterans with vast experience in bringing products and services to entirely new markets. Its Chairman and founder, 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.


Let the sun charge your phone 17 Apr, 2008

$100 gives you the ability to charge your phone wherever there’s sun, with a portable charger that fits in to your back pocket.

Yesterday, we wrote about Suntrica’s portable solar charger, the SolarBadge™.

Better Energy Systems offers a similar charger: the $100 Solio™.

Both products offer similar specifications, and are built on the same idea: a small, portable solar charger with a built-in battery that can store the accumulated energy for later use.

The big difference is industrial design. Solio™ is shaped like a hand-held fan, and Suntrica’s SolarBadge™ has a square, flexible, wearable design.

Prices are not yet set for the SolarBadge, and no delivery date is given on their site. We’re looking forward to taking a closer look at it when it’s available!

Solar powered chargers 16 Apr, 2008

With WorldGSM™ and a solar powered phone charger, who needs grid power to make a phone call?

Check out Suntrica’s website and see what a cool little charger they have designed. It’s called the SolarBadge – a portable, solar powered charger with a built-in rechargeable battery that stores energy up to five years.

A promising product, we think. What do you think? Have your say »