China Mobile, Mongolia: Elemental energy
China Mobile and Ericsson join together to enhance communications in Inner Mongolia.
By combining wind and solar power, China Mobile and Ericsson are able to deliver reliable and stable network coverage in one of the most remote environments in the world. The region of Inner Mongolia spans an area of 1 180 000 sq km. Larger settlements in the area have enjoyed a well-established mobile network for some time, but until China Mobile set up a telecommunications tower in 2006, people in rural areas had little connection to the outside world. China Mobile sought to increase its coverage in Inner Mongolia further but expansion was proving to be expensive, particularly in rural areas. With significant investment at stake, the operator needed a solution which would be future-proof and adaptable to the region's unique demands.
In order to reach areas without electricity, China Mobile selected Ericsson's power efficient radio base stations as part of a combined wind-solar solution. China Mobile now has over 6400 operational 2202, 2206 and 2302 Radio Base Stations at 250 sites. As a result, people in rural areas are experiencing reliable voice and data services for the first time. For the inhabitants of the Inner Mongolian plains who live the nomadic life of the traditional herdsman, connectivity has made their lives easier in very simple ways. Daphne Zhu, Market Communications Manager, Ericsson underlines the benefits: "This project is fairly unique in that we are serving people in areas which have no history of telecommunications at all, fixed-line or mobile. The herdsmen are now able to stay in contact with their neighbors which makes keeping track of their herds much easier. It is a great example of our philosophy of communication for all."
Inner Mongolia covers a vast area with a wide range of landscapes so one blanket solution was not a viable option. With the wind-solar approach a scientific calculation can be used to determine the ratio of wind to solar at each site and the solution can be adapted accordingly. Although the initial investment is higher than a conventional diesel powered site, with an altitude of more than 1000 m and plenty of wind and sunshine, the combined power solution is extremely effective for this region. In the long-term this implementation will lower opex for the operator by cutting site maintenance visits as refuelling is not needed. Also as the technology becomes more commonplace it is envisaged that the initial construction costs will decrease. For China Mobile, the project has opened up a whole new group of subscribers and the low environmental impact of the solution boosts its credentials as a sustainable organization.
Li Li, Deputy General Manager, China Mobile explains: "To expand our network and increase subscriber numbers we needed to overcome the lack of electricity in rural areas and find a solution which was independent of the power grid. The collaboration with Ericsson has helped us to meet our objectives and the resulting wind-solar deployment takes advantage of the natural situation here. It also gives us the competitive advantage of being the first to market in the region."
Customer: China Mobile, Inner Mongolia
- Expand network coverage
- Connect isolated communities
- Establish a sustainable and low maintenance solution
- Ericsson outdoor RBS2202, RBS2206 and RBS2302
- Increased subscriber numbers
- Reduced opex
- Competitive advantage
Officially established in 2000, China Mobile is the largest telecommunications carrier in Asia and ranks as the largest in the world in terms of network scale and customer base. China Mobile has established a comprehensive network with widespread and high quality coverage, a rich variety of businesses and firstclass customer services. The operator combines basic mobile voice with value-added services such as data, IP telephone and multimedia and plays a leading role in the development of mobile communications in China and beyond.