There looks to be some relief for telecoms providers extending to rural areas despite the energy crises that are currently destroying practically the entire structure of the economy.
In Nigeria, a telecoms service provider named Hotspot Network Ltd. (HNL) and Husk Power Systems have signed a contract to convert cell towers from diesel generators to solar power and to package connectivity and electricity solutions for off-grid communities.
The amount mobile network operators (MNOs) spent on diesel in 2021 was six times what telcos and towercos spend to power their towers in the first five months of the year, according to a July article in The Guardian.
While saying that the cost of diesel, which is needed to power network towers, base stations, and offices, increased from N225 per litre in January 2022 to over N750 per litre in March 2022, the operators operating under the auspices of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) claimed that.
Hotspot and Husk said they have already converted over 20 of Hotspot’s mobile towers from diesel to solar in an effort to mitigate some of these effects. They anticipate finishing at least 100 projects by the middle of 2023.
The two companies claimed that 1.25 million liters of diesel are consumed daily by Nigeria’s estimated 25,000 telecom towers and their base transceiver stations (BTS). That is equal to 50 tonnes of yearly CO2 emissions that might be avoided per tower.
Working with Husk Power, Hotspot claimed it was able to go carbon-free from design to installation, lowering capital and operating expenses, hastening its energy transition, and eliminating risks associated with the volatility of the world’s diesel prices. Hotspot can now provide mobile and data users with 100% renewable energy service around-the-clock.
The two businesses added that they have begun working together to provide off-grid villages with affordable energy and digital communications services.
They emphasized that the prior lack of coverage prevented local businesses and households from taking advantage of mobile payment and other digital services while mentioning that two communities where Husk was operating solar microgrids have already accessed mobile coverage for the first time through Hotspot.
Olu Aruike, country director for Husk Nigeria, stated: “By collaborating with commercial and industrial companies, we can accelerate Nigeria’s C&I energy transition and also open up more low carbon, modern services to spur economic prospects where they weren’t previously present.
“For Husk, reliable network coverage also enables us to better serve our customers, which is our ultimate mission.”
To the Founder and Chief Executive of Hotspot Network Ltd, Morenikeji Aniye: “We believe firmly that the key to unlocking sustained global economic growth is through digital inclusion of the rural communities; providing them with access to the needed tools, funding and the markets to distribute their various commodities and trade. This partnership enables us to deliver on our mission to digitise the unserved and underserved communities more efficiently and sustainably, whilst taking care of our planet.”