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
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
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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
The continent’s biggest telecom conference and expo attracted even more exhibitors and visitors than last year. The show received a staggering 75% increase in attendance. Firmly established as Africa’s leading telecoms event, AfricaCom gathered more than 4,000 attendees from across the African continent and beyond for two days of contact building, learning and buying.
The speaker line-up represented a “Who’s Who” of those at the top of some of Africa’s most successful and important telecoms companies. A record 100 speakers presented across the two days including Suraj Chaudhry, Head of Business Development for VNL on “Using Solar Power to Deploy Rural Networks in Low Economy Areas” and Mats Nilson, VP of Shyam Networks, who presented “Strategies for Handling the Drastic Increase in Data Transmission Demand.”
VNL’s booth at #B01 was one of the largest and most visible from anywhere on the floor. Taking up 90 sqm, it showcased an actual Village Site deployment configuration.
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 Africa is poised to be the continent that will deploy and be the testing ground for a number of new green powered technologies in the near future. (Frankly, we’re happy to see all green powered programs move forward, eliminating the case for diesel powered systems in rural areas – period.)
One of the questions we get all the time from visitors at our booth is how individuals will be able to charge their phones in areas with no electricity. At our booth, we showcased a number of solutions from Suntrica out of Finland and IdeaForge from India that use solar, hand cranks and connections to bicycle wheels to create electricity to power mobile phones. We also saw a solar mobile phone or two at other booths.
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. 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 in Africa.
To further our commitment in Asia, VNL sponsored the first Connecting the Next Billion Conference held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia in November. Organized by Beacon Events, and scheduled during what turned out to be unusually inclement weather and an angry volcano, connecting rural areas in the APAC region was of such interest that it was still well attended by operators, press and analysts.
Udit Mehrotra, CMO of VNL, presented a program on “Using Solar Power to Deploy Networks in Low Economy Rural Areas” which provided case studies of deployments in India and Africa. It drew a large number of questions from an audience eager to learn more about the intricacies of rural deployment. The attendees were well aware of the issues that kept mobile operators from deploying in these areas; they were very interested in seeing a working solution and applying it to their own locations. Many attendees visited the actual Village Site product display featured in the conference room and met with our staff to discuss how they could get started in their country.
It was easy to see that Asia is ready and eager to deploy solar powered GSM and broadband infrastructure equipment in rural areas. We were glad to be able to present our products to operators already working in the same direction – connecting rural networks in a sustainable and affordable manner that serves the underserved in Asia.
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.
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