New GSMA scheme for excess network power

Dylan Bushell-Embling
17 Nov 2010

In the latest in a series of green projects, the GSMA has embarked on a scheme to use excess base station power to power rural communities in developing countries.

It has also set up a service to enable operators to measure network energy efficiency.

The mobile industry group has partnered with Lighting Africa – a project jointly backed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank – to launch Community Power from Mobile (CPM).

CPM aims to use off-grid power from mobile sites in developing areas to provide electricity for nearby villages.

Pilot programs will commence in India and Africa in the first quarter of next year, and GSMA says it hopes the scheme will have a commercially viable business model by 2012.

The scheme will initially concentrate on providing charging stations for mobile devices, electric lanterns and household batteries. But GSMA says CPM will expand in future to cover clinics, vaccination fridges and homes and businesses.

Off-grid base stations typically generate more than 5kW of excess power each, enough to provide electricity for 30 homes, 15 vaccination fridges or two clinics.

Mobile users in developing nations pay an average of $3 per month – a third of monthly mobile spend – to recharge their phones.

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