Nigeria is set to build the country’s first solar powered telecommunications network. Called WorldGSM, the network will be designed by India’s Shyam group and is specifically designed for rural areas.
“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 Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman of Shyam Geoup.
“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),” he added.
The exorbitant cost of fuel and the cost of transporting it to remote locations has often decreased the lucrativeness of setting up telecoms networks in rural areas. However, these areas are often the sections of society in most needs of telecommunications infrastructure.
The hope is that WorldGSM will make the financials of running networks in rural areas more lucrative for operators. “The fact that the rural dweller needed services that would cope with their low Average Revenue Per User and also be profitable, necessitated the innovation of this solution which does not run on diesel,” Mehrotra said.