About 90 percent of growth is expected to
come from developing markets where more than half of the population lives
outside city limits. To build mobile networks in rural areas with no or
unreliable power grid means that the power challenge must be solved.

As mobile telephony reaches billions of new subscribers, areas in the
world that have never had access to communication services will soon be part
of the connected society. Having reliable access to cost-effective energy
supplies has long been a stumbling block for telecom operators seeking to
offer services outside major population centers. Building out electricity
grids has not only been prohibitive from a cost perspective, but often
impossible due to geographic and environmental constraints.

Ericsson, whose technology has already provided billions of people with
mobile telephony, is meeting this challenge with a combination of
energy-efficient products and emphasis on network energy optimization. This
supports telecom operators to develop and deliver affordable and sustainable
communications services to the emerging markets in a way that makes business
profitable for the operators.

Wind power is one example of an alternative energy resource for powering
mobile networks located beyond the electricity grid. In 2007, Ericsson
implemented biofuel as an alternative energy resource, and in 2000 Ericsson
was the first telecom player to deploy a solar solution to power a Moroccan
operator’s mobile network.

“Being at the forefront of innovation is crucial for Ericsson to stay in
its leading market position,” says Ulf Ewaldsson, Vice President and Head of
Product Area Radio at Ericsson. “I am, of course, proud to be part of a
company that is behind technologies like Bluetooth, setting the standard for
mobile technology GSM that half of the world’s population are using to make
phone calls, as well as leading the development of the fourth generation of
mobile communication. But one must also have in mind how to run mobile
networks so that all of us can have access to communication services, no
matter whether you live in a big developed city or in a remote village in a
country with poor infrastructure.”

As energy-related expenditures, including cost for diesel, can be as high
as 50 percent of total network operating costs in some markets, the next step
after getting infrastructure in place is to ensure cost-efficient day-to-day

“One example of what we have done to be able to offer mobile telephony to
the billions of people living outside city limits, is the introduction of a
unique hybrid solution where we use submarine batteries that can be recharged
over and over again to power a mobile network,” Ewaldsson says. “This solution
saves approximately 10 000 liters of diesel per radio site per year, which is
40 to 50 percent of the diesel needed. This adds up to large quantities of
fuel that can be saved in a mobile network with hundreds or thousands of
diesel powered radio sites.”

Developing green solutions to build and power mobile networks holds the
key to reaching billions of people that have never had access to communication
services. And the benefits of green solutions are twofold – not only does this
mean telecom operators can build and operate mobile networks cost efficiently,
the environment is also a winner as less fossil fuel is needed to run the
mobile networks.