WorldGSM, an environment-friendly and cost-effective solar-powered mobile system, developed by Indian telecom equipment manufacturer Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL), might prove to be the perfect way to connect the disconnected across the world, particularly in developing and poor countries.

Ready for commercial deployment, WorldGSM, comprising a base station and two small-sized solar panels, was unveiled at the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU) annual conference by VNL’s founder and Chairman Rajiv Mehrotra.

“It is not only green, but is also extremely cost-effective and easy to deploy and use. It draws power from solar panels, costs almost one-fourth the price of a traditional GSM tower, is near-zero maintenance, can be deployed and maintained by any person, and comes with a 20-year guarantee. It is the perfect GSM system for telecom companies who want to spread in rural and remote areas, particularly when an estimated three billion people are waiting to get their first mobile phone,” Mr. Mehrotra told The Hindu.

“The solar-powered network is designed to help mobile operators build sustainable and profitable networks in remote areas where average revenue per user (ARPU) is less than $2 (Rs. 100) a month,” he added. Significantly, VNL’s WorldGSM was recently recognised as “best wireless innovation” by Wall Street Journal and awarded overall bronze medal in its prestigious ‘Technology Innovation Awards 2009’.

Mr. Mehrotra said that WorldGSM had successfully completed all trials and tests besides receiving around 200 patents for the product. “For the past one year, WorldGSM has been successfully deployed in some north Indian villages,” he added.

“Mobile telephony can provide significant advantages to villages, both economically and in improving overall quality of life. Around three billion people, that is, half of world’s population, live in rural areas not covered by a mobile network.

An estimated 1.6 billion people live without electricity, while an additional one billion people live in areas with unreliable access to power. WorldGSM has answers to all these anomalies,” he asserted. Telecom ministers from various African and Asian nations thronged the VNL pavilion at the ITU to have a glimpse of WorldGSM.

“Some African nations have shown their keenness in setting up our system in their countries. Even developed nations find the concept interesting as the environment-friendly towers are totally emission-free compared to the traditional GSM towers,” Mr. Mehrotra added. WorldGSM had successfully completed all trials and tests.

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