Huawei’s Rural star solution to reduce costs of rural mobile connectivity

Technology firm, Huawei has announced plans to roll out an easy to deploy mobile telecommunication solutions to bridge the digital divide in remote parts of Africa.

The solution known as the Rural Star has several unique aspects that reduce the total cost of building and running a mobile network site by up to 70 per cent.

It is specifically designed for remote parts of the country that do not currently have mobile network coverage.

“The solution will not only help mobile operators but will also boost ongoing efforts by governments and regulators across the who region are seeking to expand rural coverage, ” Huawei technologies Southern Africa Region President Mr. Li Peng sid during the Africacom conference held South Africa.

In Kenya the Communications Authority is providing subsidies for mobile operators to extend mobile coverage in rural areas through the Universal Service Fund (USF) initiative.

According to the Access Gaps Report commissioned by the CA and released last year, 5 per cent of Kenya’s population still lacks even a 2G mobile network signal, and around a quarter of the population lacks access to a 3G or 4G mobile network signal which is suitable for accessing the internet.

It not only lowers the cost to purchase the tower and facilitates easier transport and construction of the site, but also enables the reduction of passive infrastructure cost by approximately 80 percent.

Consequently, Huawei Technologies is in discussion with operators to pilot the Rural Star solution in Kenya this year.

The Rural Star solution leverages cutting edge technology innovation by removing the requirement for 30 – 60 metre towers with 12 – 18 metre poles which do not require cement for installation.

It not only lowers the cost to purchase the tower and facilitates easier transport and construction of the site, but also enables the reduction of passive infrastructure cost by approximately 80 percent.

“This is because the solution features a non-line of sight LTE (4G) relay instead of microwave transmission (as you would in a traditional deployment), providing cost savings on expensive satellite costs and lowering tower height requirements as well as energy usage.  And finally, as much of a site’s operating cost is spent on diesel power for the equipment due to lack of reliable power grid, the solution makes use of solar power to reduce operating expenditure (OPEX) to almost zero.”

 

Through this solution, Operators will for the first time, get the opportunity to construct the low cost sites and in so doing, provide connectivity and digital services to more people living in rural and remote areas; whilst governments can ensure their subsidies for rural sites go further.


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Muhatia
Muhatia is the Managing Editor of Biz News Media Reach him via editor@biznews.co.ke