" ITREALMS: Ericsson’s power solution wins GSMA award

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ericsson’s power solution wins GSMA award

Ericsson’s community power solution in Liberia, has won award at the just concluded 2011 Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) held in Barcelona, Spain for the Best use of Mobile for Social and Economic Development.

Head, Media and Public Relations for Ericsson West Africa, Ms Omasan Ogisi, said that the award was in global recognition of excellence and innovation.

She noted that MTN Liberia, which deployed Ericsson Community Power Solution, the first solution of its kind benefitting about 15,000 people from access to excess energy generated from mobile sites.

The award presented to Ericsson and Swedish telecom site solution supplier, Flexenclosure, under the “Best use of Mobile for Social & Economic Development” category.

Head, Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Lars Linden, said they were honoured to have been presented with this award.

“This initiative reflects Ericsson’s ongoing commitment to harnessing our technical leadership in developing innovative products and sustainable business models that form the building blocks of a connected and sustainable Africa. We will continue to seek new ways of driving sustainable business growth for our customers and expand the reach of networks in Africa,” he said.

Linden noted that having adopted the Ericsson Community Power solution, MTN in Liberia becomes the first operator in the world to implement a system of this type.

“With this, many of the residents of Liberia’s Kokoyah District could soon enjoy access to electricity in their homes for the first time,” he said, stressing that it would take what has started in some markets as a way of charging mobile phones to a whole new level, to enabling the electrification of the world’s remotest villages.

Kokoyah is one of several Millennium Villages in Africa located in the far south-east of Bong County, which has a population of approximately 15,000 people.

The Ericsson Community Power solution was developed in partnership with Swedish green site solution specialist company Flexenclosure as part of a portfolio of innovative services and products for the Millennium Villages Project (MVP).

The solution comprised Ericsson Community Power and Flexenclosure’s E-site solution, is a revolutionary product that combines an off-grid base-station site powered mainly by renewable energy sources such as sun and wind, with the ability to share excess power with surrounding local communities, institutions and individuals.

Linden explained that the Community Power solution allows subscribers to recharge their mobile phones with excess power generated from the station, which in turn drives network usage and thereby revenue. In more mature and large-scale deployments, several sites can be combined to create a mini-grid to power services such as streetlights, clinics and schools for an entire community. It would even be possible to feed power from the base station into the national power grid which can help to alleviate power shortages.

He was quick to recall that most part of Africa, much basic infrastructure is lacking, and there are more people with mobile phones than access to electricity.

Citing the recent report by the International Energy Agency, which stated that 585 million people had no access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa in 2010, yet mobile-phone penetration levels in Africa were at about 50 per cent.

He asserted that Ericsson Community Power offers groundbreaking opportunities to transform the lives of individuals, businesses and communities that have traditionally been excluded from numerous services due to their lack of access to power.

“Now, they have been given the platform to enjoy products and services that were previously impossible to access, and also to expand their commerce and trade beyond their immediate environment,” Linden said.

For the chief executive officer, MTN Liberia, Mr. Frans Joubert in emerging markets this solution allows operators to bring much needed services to the community in a sustainable way, and offers additional value to the customer, the operator and the community at large.

“Beyond meeting the basic electricity requirements of the community, this solution can serve utility companies worldwide, and MTN is proud to be part of this initiative, which can change so many lives,” he said.

Additionally, he said, the solution has been tested in the Dertu Millennium Village, a remote settlement in north- eastern Kenya.

“There, one site generated about 4,000kWh in excess energy a year, theoretically the amount of energy needed to generate power to support mobile phone charging stations, illuminate street lights and supply power to community buildings such as clinics and schools in a small village,’ he said, noting that the base station in Dertu powered a fridge that stored medicine for the local community.

Remmy Nweke:
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