Nokia + Siemens + Village Connection = rural GSM

Nokia Siemens Networks has now introduced its new Village Connection, a solution aimed at providing affordable rural connectivity and coverage in new growth markets. Village Connection is based on an easy concept: build rural connectivity village by village, exploiting a franchise-based business model between operator and local village entrepreneur.

The recently-announced Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection solution supports GSM-based voice and SMS services, including roaming and connection to the outside world. A range of value-added services can be added, such as cost-effective Internet services in villages via the Internet protocol link.

Village Connection is promoted as benefiting many people, in the opinion of Ari Lehtoranta, Head of Radio Access Networks, Nokia Siemens Networks: "Our solution brings connectivity, access to mobile services and economic activity to the villages. It enables operators to extend their network coverage cost-effectively in rural areas where rolling out and operating a traditional GSM network would be too cost-intensive."

The Village Connection model comprises GSM access points located in villages and regional access centres. A village typically hosts one access point module comprising GSM radio, power and IT hardware and software components. The access point merely requires simple installation and powering, for instance, by solar energy. Each access point connects to standard GSM mobile devices and autonomously handles calls within a village through local switching. Access points are connected via Internet Protocol links to a regional access centre. The access centre connects the villages to the main GSM core network and handles the calls between the villages.

One novel aspect of Village Connection is that it allows the transfer of responsibility for network and business functions to a local level, building cost-effective connectivity village by village. It can employ local people to manage access within each village, or local entrepreneurs may license the mobile access rights for their surrounding area. The solution will be available in 2008.

More info:

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