http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.13Change: 0.02
R/$ = 12.04Change: 0.04
Au 1188.64 $/ozChange: 1.19
Pt 1129.50 $/ozChange: 5.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Sep 16, 2010

MTN rolling out ‘green’ base stations in rural SA

Back
Engineering|Africa|Civils|Eskom|PROJECT|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|System|Wireless|Africa|Energy|Equipment|Maintenance|Manufacturing|Services|Solutions|Infrastructure|Power
Engineering|Africa|Civils|Eskom|PROJECT|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|System|Wireless|Africa|Energy|Equipment|Maintenance|Manufacturing|Services|Solutions|Infrastructure|Power
engineering|africa-company|civils|eskom|project|renewable-energy|renewable-energy-company|system|wireless|africa|energy|equipment|maintenance|manufacturing|services|solutions|infrastructure|power
© Reuse this



Telecommunications (telecoms) group MTN would increasingly use renewable energy technologies to assist in bridging the digital divide and provide voice services and wireless broadband to communities far from urban centres.

On a site visit to the off-grid base transceiver (BTS) station near Riemvasmaak in the Northern Cape, MTN executives said that following the success of this BTS, there were plans to roll out a further 150 ‘green' base stations in 2011.

The R2,6-million BTS is situated more than 120 km west of Upington and makes use of the region's abundant solar irradiation, with a 3 kW installed capacity solar array.

In addition to solar power, at the top of the 56-m high BTS is a Bergey wind turbine, which has the capacity to generate about 7,5 kW of clean power at the site.

MTN South Africa core implementation manager Willem Weber explains to Engineering News Online that the solar photovoltaic (PV) array consists of fifteen 220 W panels, manufactured by Tenesol - a France-based company, which has a manufacturing facility in Cape Town.

Sealed, maintenance-free gel batteries have capacity to store enough power for the BTS site to operate for two days in the event of no solar or wind power being generated.

The complete generation capacity exceeds the current needs at the BTS, which has been designed to draw a 1,5 kW DC load. This means that there is room for expansion at the BTS should more equipment be required to increase the telecoms capacity.

Air conditioning for the equipment is one of the major power requirements at the BTS, and at this site normal AC air conditioners are not used. Two DC extraction fans keep the equipment cool, and only 150 W on 220V is available in AC for a laptop from a DC/AC inverter.

There is no secondary energy source at the station, which has been operating for some four months, without any problems reported, notes MTN SA network group green BTS site build project manager Christene Jonker.

MTN SA central region BTS implementation head Hendré Kruger notes that previously, if there was no option to extend utility power to a BTS site, the company would not be able to provide services in the area, particularly since renewable energy solutions were prohibitively expensive. "But the costs are coming down fast," he says, thus making such sites viable.

Turnkey telecoms infrastructure company Plessey was the project manager for this site, with civil work subcontracted to Towcon Civils, while the electricity and reticulation portion of the contract was awarded to Energy Insight.

Of the total BTS project cost of about R2,6-million, some R1-million was dedicated to the renewable energy portion of the project. This was still considered less than the cost of extending the Eskom grid to power the BTS, which would likely have cost in the region of R1,5-million.

The bonus with renewable energy is that after the one-off capital expenditure (capex) cost, there are no more utility bills.

Weber also said that the site expected to be a money-maker, despite the low volumes of traffic, because once the capex is recouped, there is no running cost and only minimal maintenance.

The BTS site covers a 35-km radius, and is the second off-grid BTS site in the area, where previously, low-income communities had little contact with the outside world, as the fixed line operator declared that access to the sites was not viable. For the last two years, farmers in the area used two-way radios to communicate and bedand breakfast operators had to travel to town to use the telephone and manage bookings, as fixed line services were not upgraded.

The base station employs universal mobile telecoms system (UMTS) 900 technology, and makes use of the 900 MHz network spectrum, which is usually used to provide voice (second generation or 2G) services, to provide third generation (3G), or wireless broadband services.

MTN SA radio planning and optimisation GM Thaigan Govender explains that using this technology allows coverage over vast distances, and provides the benefits of both voice and the Internet, as well as the affordable roll-out of 3G services.

Sitting on a rock surrounded by sparse shrubbery and not much else under the blazing Northern Cape sun, Govender tested the Internet connection bandwidth using his mobile phone. The speed test showed a 1,3 Mb download ability, with 1 Mb for uploads, and the device streamed music videos without buffering.

MTN SA said that it aimed to continue re-farming a portion of its new 900 MHz spectrum to extend its wireless broadband coverage into rural South Africa.

The company's data services currently cover almost 50% of South Africa's geographical area, and with the phased roll-out of the new network, MTN is initially looking at communities close to outlying cities to enhance its 3G footprint, with the second phase expected to extend to more remote areas.

"Wireless broadband is the most effective mechanism to bring data services to rural South Africa - it makes business and economic sense. We believe much of our future data market will come from these previously under-serviced areas that are desperate for the full end-to-end connectivity services MTN can provide," said MTN SA MD Karel Pienaar.

On the two-hour journey to reach the green BTS station from the nearest town at Augrabies, Pienaar and the MTN executives stopped in at the Riemvasmaak Primary School, and provided the headmistress with a cellular phone for the school, as well as T-shirts, caps, bottles and pens for the school children.

When asked if there was anything in particular that the school needed, the headmistress said that the school needed the Internet, which of course would require computers.

MTN was considering further investment into the rural community, and the school in particular, through its social investment arm, the MTN Foundation, and the schools connectivity programme.

 

Edited by: Mariaan Webb
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Latest News
Updated 18 minutes ago Suggesting market-share gains by the retail group, Massmart CEO Guy Hayward reported on Wednesday that the company had managed to grow its sales by 9.5% in the first 20 weeks of this year, despite “intense” competition in the retail sector. Comparable sales grew 7.4%...
Updated 21 minutes ago The installation of an R8-million roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) energy harvesting system by diversified South African agribusiness BKB is set to provide energy to, and reduce the carbon footprint of, South Africa’s wool and mohair industry, in Nelson Mandela...
Updated 1 hour 16 minutes ago Tanzania's government has agreed a deal to buy back a 35% stake in a state-run telecoms company from the local subsidiary of India's top mobile carrier Bharti Airtel for 14.6-billion shillings ($7.07-million), a senior official said.    The east African nation says...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
FREDRIK JEJDLING Sustainability becomes an important part of a business’ decision-making process
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96