GSMA, the mobile operators’ industry association, and Bharti Infratel, which provides telecom infrastructure in India, have agreed to work together to develop and promote green technologies for telecom towers.
Bharti Infratel owns over 33,000 of India’s estimated 400,000 towers, including nearly 9,000 off-grid. The company has already converted over 10,500 sites to alternative back-up power, with 1,350 of them now on solar hybrid. Working with GSMA, 1,000 more towers will go green, reducing greenhouse gas carbon emissions by almost 11,000 tonnes as a result of using less diesel fuel.
Infratel’s existing GreenTowers initiative has been running for almost two years. It’s an energy efficiency and alternate energy programme aimed at reducing diesel usage and carbon emissions. The GSMA has its own Green Power for Mobile programme, supported by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), which works to promote and institutionalise green power in a number of markets including India.
Chris Locke, Managing Director, GSMA Development Fund said “Using the insights gained from our partnership with Bharti Infratel, we will produce a best practice guide and case study which we hope will lead to widespread industry change as the industry follows Bharti Infratel’s lead.”
India is certainly a good place to implement cost and energy savings in mobile infrastructure. It’s a rapidly expanding mobile market and the GSMA also recently predicted that India will become the second largest mobile broadband market, behind China, within the next four years. With much of the infrastructure off-grid there’s significant savings to be made in the fuel used to power these sites, as well as available renewable alternatives, particularly solar.
It means it’s a great test-bed for best practice in making towers more energy efficient and integrating renewable energy. And the GSMA is in the position to spread the message.