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Namibia: Namibian telco deploys ‘green' site

Global technology provider Motorola, in conjunction with telecoms operator MTC Namibia, has recently announced the deployment of a wind and solar power system to operate MTC Namibia's GSM cell site, at Dordabis village, in the Khomas region of Namibia.
Motorola has been working with telecommunication co-ordinator, the GSM Association (GSMA), on a trial project with MTC Namibia to deploy a more environment-friendly cell sites in remote regions of Namibia. The project was announced at the 3GSM conference in Barcelona, earlier this year.

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, explains a Motorola press release.

The hybrid wind and solar solution was commissioned at the MTC Dordabis site on 30 April, says Charlotte Connatty, GSMA project manager for the MTC Namibia trial.

“The trial is in its early stages and, since its deployment, it has shown promising results, and highlights that wind and solar power can provide an efficient and reliable alternative to conventional grid connections or diesel generators.”

Albertus Aochamub, head of corporate communications at MTC, says the hybrid solution is a far more cost-effective solution for the company.

“It will be cost-effective in the long run as MTC does not have to pay connection costs to the national power grid or subsequent rental and usage charges,” explains Aochamub. “The maintenance costs will also reduce significantly from the present four to five times a year to once a year.”

Another issue that concerned MTC in the past has been the theft of diesel intended for the back-up generators, which can now be reduced. The main power grid can also be used as a back-up instead, he says.

Ali Amer, VP of public networks at MEA, Motorola networks and enterprise, said that although this particular trial is being delivered on a GSM network, the solution has the capability to be applied to other wireless networks that have rural cell site power issues.

Following the trial, the GSMA Development Fund hopes to showcase the solution to other mobile operators and look to replicate the model in other countries across Africa and Asia, says Connatty. “We are currently exploring these opportunities.”

The Dordabis cell site will remain a part of MTC Namibia's live GSM network throughout the trial. “We expect this pilot to become a showcase for the industry and to see replication of the model thereafter,” says Connatty.

Namibia is a viable candidate for such a trial as it boasts some of the longest sun-days in the world, making it a logical base, Aochamub says. MTC is using the cell sites as back-up in remote areas, but want them to become the main source of energy, he adds.

Additional information:
News date: 18/05/2007

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