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Namibia gets wind powered cell sites

Pan-African mobile operator MTC announced its first base station using all renewable power on Thursday, in a project supported by the GSM Association’s Development Fund.

The GSM cell site at the village of Dordabis in Namibia will be powered by a mix of solar panels and a wind turbine.

Motorola, which showed off a complete base station kit with renewable power and microwave backhaul at this year’s 3GSM World Congress, is supplying the equipment.

“We are excited to be working with MTC Namibia on this solar and wind 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.

Not only does the system obviate the need for an existing infrastructure, it also saves on OPEX, as the locally-generated power is free and the site does not have to be refuelled. Given that markets like Namibia will generate very low ARPU, this could be vital to their economic viability.

As well as GSM voice service, MTC is also providing EDGE 2.5G data and Push to Talk on the Dordabis base station. “With the implementation of cell sites into more remote areas this Motorola solution provides us with an efficient and reliable 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,” said Albertus Aochamub, corporate services general manager, MTC Namibia.

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