Indian firm brings solar-powered GSM equipment for rural areas

Indian company Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL) developed equipment that will allow mobile operators to deploy networks into rural areas by making use of solar power and pre-built components.

VNL said the solar-powered components include base stations, mobile switching centres and base station controllers, which can be built by untrained labor in just days.

The VNL WorldGSM system base stations need only between 50W and 120W of power to operate against a typical 3000W for a current GSM base station and is entirely powered by solar energy with a 72 hour battery backup which is also charged by solar energy.

WorldGSM is intended for deployment in rural areas which are currently not served by existing networks because the cost of deploying standard network infrastructure. High infrastructure costs combined with low returns and the need to service and power the infrastructure make these rural areas unattractive for mobile operators using standard equipment.

Current base stations require diesel powered generators and VNL estimate that these generators are currently using two billion litres of diesel a year in India alone.

VNL is trailing a rural network in India at the moment with Indian infrastructure provider Quippo Telecom Infrastructure Limited (QTIL) and QTIL have nearly finalised agreements with several Indian telecomm operators to integrate the systems with their networks.

VNL's WorldGSM is designed to be interoperable with equipment from most network suppliers.