The world’s first wind and solar commercial network GSM cell site has been deployed combining the technology and commercial expertise of Motorola, the GSMA and MTC Namibia. The new system will power the cell site MTC Namibia operates at Dordabis village in the country’s Khomas region.
Motorola has deployed a wind and solar power system to operate MTC Namibia’s GSM cell site at Dordabis village in the Khomas region of Namibia. The trial with MTC Namibia supports the African operator’s strategy for increased voice and data service coverage in rural areas of Namibia and is the first of its kind globally.
Albertus Aochamub, Corporate Services General Manager, MTC Namibia: “With the implementation of cell sites into more remote areas this Motorola solution provides us with an alternative to the often costly roll-out of mains grid electricity. This is an important project for us and commencement of the wind and solar cell site trial is proof of our commitment to our customers to provide the essential communication services needed in the region.”
By incorporating renewable energy solutions into communication networks Motorola is trialling this solution as a feasible option for operators instead of their utilising costly fuel generators or waiting long periods for a mains grid connection. The Dordabis cell site will remain a part of MTC Namibia’s live GSM network throughout the trial.
Motorola has been working with the GSM Association on this project which was announced at 3GSM Barcelona in February this year. “A key challenge in much of Africa is connecting people in off-grid locations and this project seeks to highlight to operators that wind and solar power is a real and cost-effective alternative. We expect this pilot to become a showcase for the industry and to see replication of the model thereafter,” said Dawn Hartley, Development Fund manager at the GSMA.
With its expanded rural and roadside network coverage MTC Namibia is providing voice and GPRS/EDGE data services to enable new communities to access communication and the internet at a level not possible before. Recently, MTC Namibia has also launched a Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC) service on its GPRS network. Initially being utilised as a communication aid to deliver services within local communities, it will be expanded to serve diverse subscriber groups and businesses in the future.
“We are excited to be working with MTC Namibia on this solar and wind power powered cell site. Though this particular trial is being delivered on a GSM network, the Motorola solution has the capability to be applied to other wireless networks that have rural cell site power issues,” said Ali Amer, Vice-President, Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, Motorola Home & Networks Mobility.
Once installed, the cost of power is almost zero, and wind and solar powered cell sites require minimal maintenance unlike a diesel-driven generator which generally requires, at a minimum, a monthly visit for refuelling. This translates into added savings in operating expenditure (OPEX), a key factor to emerging market network operators.
Motorola’s renewable energy solutions for powering wireless network cell sites are part of the company’s Reach GSM portfolio.
* MTC (Mobile Telecommunications Limited) was established in 1995 as a joint venture between Namibia Post and Telecommunications Holdings (NPTH), Telia and Swedfund. During May 2004, NPTH concluded a deal that saw it hold 100% of the shares in MTC by acquiring the 49% held by Telia Overseas AB and Swedfund International AB. NPTH is wholly owned by the Government of the Republic of Namibia. On 1 September 2006 the sale of 34% of MTC shares to a strategic/technical partner was concluded with Portugal Telecom which also holds the management contract.