Monday September 28, 2020

Renewable Energy for Mobile Towers: Opportunities for low- and middle-income countries

Person looking at mobile phone smiling, light is reflecting on face in dark room

In 2020, an estimated 5.2 billion people are subscribed to mobile services. The GSMA estimates this figure will grow by another 600 million people by 2025, and 60 per cent of new subscribers will be in Asia Pacific or Sub-Saharan Africa.

In many low and middle-income countries (LMICs), access to mobile connectivity relies on “off-grid” and “bad-grid” mobile towers that tend to operate on on-site diesel-powered generators, inflicting a measurable cost on the environment and the balance sheets of mobile network operators (MNOs).

In this report, we examine the scale of the off-grid and bad-grid challenge in LMICs, and evaluate how the renewable energy landscape has changed since the GSMA published its 2014 report, Green Power for Mobile.

Through desk research, stakeholder interviews and analyses of seven renewable energy “lighthouse” countries, we provide a fresh perspective on the global trends and barriers currently influencing the deployment of renewable energy solutions. 

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