BrandArena: VNL set to introduce Nigeria’s first solar Powered Telecommunication Network

Friday, 22 June 2012

VNL set to introduce Nigeria’s first solar Powered Telecommunication Network

VNL, a company under the Shyam Group based in India, is set to introduce Nigeria’s first solar powered network called ‘WorldGSM.

WorldGSM will be the first solar powered broadband network in Nigeria and has been designed to serve rural populations in developing economies. WorldGSM technology intends to help bring the reach of the current mobile infrastructure to billion more people.

The network draws no power from the electricity grid. It has been designed from the ground up — the hardware, software, towers and network architecture — to extend existing GSM networks into areas they could never before serve.

Mr. Rajiv Mehrotra, chairman of Shyam Geoup and a veteran in the telecommunication industry said ‘WorldGSM is a completely solar powered broadband network solution for rural and remote locations.

He said the clear cut agenda is to cater for rural consumers who don’t live in cities and have ARPU of 3 dollars or less and for that a solution was required which does not run on diesel or the network would never be viable or profitable.”

“The general purpose network of GSM is entirely unsuited to the unique challenges of serving rural and remote communities. As operators continue to expand their networks into these areas, these challenges can escalate to a point where any further expansion is no longer viable. As a result, vast portions of the developing world are denied telecommunication access. Power was clearly not an issue when GSM was conceived. A conventional base station site alone requires about 3,000 to 5,000 watts to run — not including any Base Station Controller (BSC) or Mobile Switching Center (MSC),” Mehrotra said.

He observed that in remote areas in Nigeria, there is either no electricity grid or it’s only available for a few hours each day. Diesel generators are used to fill the gap times, resulting in several billion litres of diesel fuel being burned every single year and that diesel prices are just one part of the story.

He added that poor fuel quality, cost and time to transport it to remote locations, storage costs, pilferage and theft make this power source unsustainable for rural GSM deployments. The generators themselves are typically overworked and poorly maintained, resulting in replacement every two or three years — more waste, more greenhouse gas emissions.

Tushar Maheshwari another veteran in the Nigerian telecommunication industry and who also doubles as the Chief Commercial Officer –West Africa and Middle East, Shyam Group, said “ VNL is committed to improving the rural connectivity in Nigeria and will work with all stakeholders to ensure that the rural communications get the desired thrust.”

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