Ericsson, Idea Cellular and GSMA launch live biofuel base stations in India

Press release
Jun 14, 2007 08:16 (GMT +00:00)
Indian mobile operator Idea Cellular, Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and the GSM Association's Development Fund today announced that four mobile base stations powered by locally produced biofuels have extended Idea's commercial mobile network in rural India.
All four locations in the state of Maharashtra are greenfield sites that have not previously had access to a mobile network and are located in areas with unreliable power supply.

The live mobile base stations follow the initial feasibility assessment of different sources of oil for biodiesel production and establishment of a local supply chain.

Biodiesel has several advantages over conventional diesel as a power source for base stations. An important factor is that it is produced locally, creating employment in rural areas while reducing the need for transportation.  Biodiesel has a much lower impact on the environment than conventional diesel. The cleaner burning renewable fuel also requires fewer site visits and also extends the life of the base station generator, reducing operator costs.

The biodiesel for the base stations initially comes from fish oil and waste vegetable oil - essentially used-frying oils from local restaurants. In the long term, locally produced jatropha oil will be used. The selected sources for biodiesel have low environmental impact and follow responsible environmental practices for biodiesel production.

Sanjeev Aga, Managing Director, IDEA Cellular, says: "The use of biofuels is helping us to bring the social and economical benefits that access to communication bring to rural communities in India."

Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer of the GSMA, the global trade association for mobile operators, says: "Exploring alternative power solutions, such as biofuels, is key to the development of cost-effective ways to extend mobile networks to the 20% of the world's population that don't have coverage today."

Mats Granryd, President of Ericsson India, says: "Solutions to solve the power challenges associated with expanding rural coverage will help operators reach people beyond the electricity grid. We are pleased to pioneer biofuel into the telecom industry."

The Indian government is encouraging local companies to adopt biofuels, so Idea Cellular is in the position of becoming a leading exponent of this alternative power source.

Notes to editors:

Ericsson, GSMA, and Idea to use biofuels to extend mobile coverage in rural India:

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About the GSM Association and the Development Fund

The GSMA's Development Fund was set up in October 2005 to catalyse the role of mobile technology in social, economic and environmental development. Working with the mobile industry, the development community and governments, the Fund seeks to identify innovative ideas for development that are scalable and sustainable on a global level. By focusing on practical implementation, the Development Fund and its partners create unique knowledge and experience of the role and potential of mobile technology in development.

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing 700 GSM mobile phone operators across 217 countries of the world. In addition, more than 180 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association's initiatives as key partners.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers. The Association's members serve more than two billion customers - 82 percent of the world's mobile phone users.