3rd July, 2012
An Indian technology company, VNL, is set to revolutionise the telecommunication sector in Nigeria with the introduction of the first solar powered network called WorldGSM.
According to the company which is part of the Shyam Group of India, WorldGSM will be the first solar powered broadband network in Nigeria and has been designed to serve rural populations in developing economies.
It added that the technology intends to help bring the current mobile infrastructure to million more people. The group explained that the network draws no power from the electricity grid, but rather, has been designed from the ground up — the hardware, software, towers and network architecture — to extend existing GSM networks to areas they could never before serve.
Explaining how the technology works, Chairman of Shyam Group, Rajiv Mehrotra, said: “WorldGSM is a completely solar powered broadband network solution for rural and remote locations.” He said the plan is to cater for rural consumers who don’t live in cities and have Average Revenue Per User of three 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 Centre (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, resulting in several billion litres of diesel fuel being burned every single year adding that diesel prices are just one part of the story.