The GSMA today announced that Digicel, supported by the GSMA Development Fund, has completed the second phase of its green power network implementation and is using wind and solar energy solutions to power 25 base stations on the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu. Digicel, which is the leading mobile operator in Vanuatu, now carries more than 60% of its network traffic on base stations powered by renewable energy sources.
Typically, off-grid base stations have been powered by generators running on diesel, which is increasingly erratic in price, is costly to distribute and generates carbon dioxide emissions. Digicel’s approach of using solar, wind and hybrid power provides a more cost-effective and reliable solution than either solar cells or wind turbines alone, to bring GSM coverage to some of the most remote communities in Vanuatu.
“By implementing alternative sources of energy, we are able to connect the unconnected, making communications accessible to many in Vanuatu for the first time,” said Tanya Menzies, CEO of Digicel Vanuatu. “The work we are doing in Vanuatu is particularly important to the Digicel Group, as it’s serving as a model for alternative power deployments for other Digicel networks around the world.”
Digicel, which launched commercial service in June 2008, recently completed the second phase in the project, bringing the current number of green-powered base stations to 25. Additionally, in 2009, Digicel plans to install a new wind turbine to an existing wind farm to power a portion of its sites, enabling the operator to reduce its annual power bill by an order of magnitude.
“The GSMA created the Green Power for Mobile programme with two objectives in mind: to promote the use of green power to expand mobile networks into regions currently lacking coverage, and to facilitate the systematic reduction of reliance on diesel by operators,” said Michael O’Hara, chief marketing officer for the GSMA. “Our work with Digicel further demonstrates the commercial viability of implementing renewable energy systems on a broad scale and has helped establish best practices for future green power projects.”
About Digicel Pacific
Since its launch in the South Pacific in November 2006, Digicel has become the fastest-growing mobile operator in the Pacific, with current operations in Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The company was recently granted licenses by the Governments of Fiji and has commitments from several other countries in the Pacific.
Digicel has contributed to the 0.7% growth to the GDP of Papua New Guinea since its launch as the second mobile operator on July 20, 2007.
Digicel is the largest operator in the Caribbean operating in 23 markets and rolling out new operations in Central America. The company is renowned for competitive rates, unbeatable coverage, and superior customer care, a wide variety of products and services, and state-of-the-art handsets.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites more than 750 of the world’s mobile operators, as well as 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA is focused on innovating, incubating and creating new opportunities for its membership, all with the end goal of driving the growth of the mobile communications industry. For more information, please visit http://www.gsmworld.com
For more information please contact:
Daniel Lowther: +44 7747 636 687
Richard Fogg: +44 7887 845 236