Nigeria is set to build the nation’s first solar powered telecommunications network through the Shyam Group’s VNL operations. Called WorldGSM, the technology has been designed to be set up in rural areas in developing economies.
“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,” said Chairman of Shyam Geoup, Rajiv Mehrotra.
Shyan Group, a West African and Middle East-based operator, said that it will also provide a mobile infrastructure to billions of people in remote areas.
“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 and this is outside of any Base Station Controller (BSC) or Mobile Switching Center (MSC),” Mehrotra added.
The cost of running a conventional base station in a remote area was also not financially viable. “Poor fuel quality, cost and time to transport it to remote locations, storage costs, pilferage and theft made 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 and also result into more waste and more greenhouse gas emissions”.
Mehrotra continued to explain that WorldGSM works perfectly in rural areas, as it is a complete solar powered broadband network solution. “The fact that the rural dweller needed services that would cope with their low ARPU and also be profitable, necessitated the innovation of this solution which does not run on diesel,” he concluded.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor