James Middleton

September 18, 2008

2 Min Read
Industry body pushes for greener base stations

Green issues remain high on the agenda for the mobile industry, with the GSM Association launching its Green Power for Mobile initiative on Thursday.

The programme is tasked with the goal of helping the mobile industry use renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, or sustainable biofuels to power 118,000 new and existing off grid base stations in developing countries by 2012.

The industry body says that achieving this target would save up to 2.5 billion litres of diesel per year and cut annual carbon emissions by up to 6.3 million tonnes.

Subscriber growth is increasingly restricted to emerging markets with a huge collective population, but operators in these regions face hurdles such as poor infrastructure and unreliable power supplies.

“As they strive to bring the benefits of mobile coverage to as many people as possible, operators need to find reliable, sustainable and economic sources of power far beyond the reach of national electricity grids,” said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA. “Through our Development Fund, the GSMA has built deep expertise in solar, wind and other renewable energy sources that mobile operators can tap to help them connect the unconnected, reduce operating costs and minimise environmental damage.”

At present, the GSMA Development Fund estimates that only 1,500 base stations worldwide are powered by at least one form of renewable energy. Challenges to date have included commercial viability, equipment availability and lack of expertise, but the organisation estimates that rising diesel prices and falling renewable equipment costs mean that operators investing in green power sources for base stations could recoup the capital costs in as little as 24 months.  Backed by 25 mobile operators, the Green Power for Mobile programme is this week meeting in Kenya to discuss the deployment of base stations that use renewable energy across the emerging markets.

The mobile operators participating in the programme are: Axis, Bharti, Dialog, Digicel, Idea Cellular, Indosat, Econet, Grameenphone, Mobinil, MTC Namibia, MTN Cameroon, MTN Group, MTN Nigeria, MTN Uganda, Orange, Orascom Telecom Holding, Roshan, Safaricom, Smart, Telefonica, Telenor Pakistan, Vimpelcom, Vodacom Tanzania, Vodafone Egypt, Zain Group, and Zantel.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

You May Also Like