Telenor has granted a $30 Million contract for the purpose of installing solar-run power supplies at 5000 cellular sites across Pakistan and Bangladesh. The project is estimated to run its course for a period of 3 years. 2,800 of these cellular sites will be upgraded with the new power supplies for Telenor in Pakistan, while the remaining 2,200 sites will be upgraded for Grameenphone in Bangladesh.
According to the company which was awarded the contract, it will install solar-based power systems at the base transceiver station (BTS) points at each cellular site over the course of 3 years, which in turn would allow Telenor to reduce operational costs by as much as 25-30%. They added that while the long suggested solution had been available for a few years, it had not been viable due to the technology being expensive back then.
It was further explained that the BTS towers would not depend entirely on electricity produced by solar energy, as other sources of energy would also be consumed in parallel. These alternate sources would come from utility companies. However, the availability of solar power as a source of energy would effectively reduce the need for carriers to depend on more conventional and unreliable sources. In addition, power distribution companies will deploy solar-powered BTS towers with storage systems, through which Telenor will gain the opportunity to expand its cellular coverage to far-flung, remote areas.
A total of 37,576 telecom operator sites are spread across different parts of Pakistan, effectively covering around 92% of the country’s land area. Work on the solar-run sites for Telenor Pakistan in Chitral, Upper Dir, and Lower Dir is already underway, for which the company has been rewarded by the Universal Service Fund. With a reduction in operational costs, Telenor Pakistan is likely to gain a significant edge over its competitors in a market with limited profit margins.