MTC Namibia goes green

Powering remote GSM cell sites, particularly in the developing world, often presents problems due to the high cost and difficulty of securing a mains electrical power source, as well as the vulnerability of diesel equipment to theft.

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By  Christopher Reynolds Published  February 18, 2007

Motorola has signed an agreement with MTC Namibia to test their solar and wind power generators on the African telco’s network equipment. The trials, which are GSMA approved, involve the installation of Motorola’s own wind and solar power solutions at an operational MTC Namibia cell site, according to an announcement made at this year’s 3GSM event. The solution will act as an ‘environment friendly’ electricity source for part of MTC Namibia’s current wireless network, which, according to Motorola, will still be able to run at maximum traffic capacity. “Off-grid connectivity is a key challenge for Operators, in particular in developing world markets, and until cost-effective, practical solutions are commonplace, the digital divide will persist. The GSMA is therefore committed to piloting alternative energies for powering base stations, and we are delighted to be involved in this trial in Namibia,” said GSMA development fund manager, Dawn Hartley. Once the wind and solar powered solution is installed the cost of powering the system, Motorola claims, is negligible, and the apparatus requires little maintenance compared its to diesel driven counterparts. Powering remote GSM cell sites, particularly in the developing world, often presents problems due to the high cost and difficulty of securing a mains electrical power source, as well as the vulnerability of diesel equipment to theft. “The solution will successfully combine with other power optimisation features for GSM cell sites that are currently in development and although the trial is being done on a GSM network the technology can be applied to any wireless network in an off-grid scenario,” said Stefano Mattiello, regional sales director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Motorola Networks and Enterprise.

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