Energy in Telecommunications
One of the key challenges in building mobile networks in emerging markets is energy: access to it and the price of it. It is interesting to note that people's need to communicate is so great that it exceeds their need for reliable energy. It has been estimated that about 1.6 billion people today live without access to electricity. Another one billion live in areas where electricity grids are built but the service is very unreliable. Yet, mobile networks are being built in these areas and when doing it right, operators are able to make a profit despite the difficulties.
Energy costs are playing a big role in operational expenditures of any mobile network. The portion of energy in network operating costs in developed nations can be up to 10 % while in developing countries it varies between 15 and 30 %.
The task of building an energy-efficient mobile network can be roughly divided into two parts; on the one hand ensuring the highest possible energy efficiency for the network, and on the other hand looking closely at how the energy is produced. Energy efficiency has been covered elsewhere in this book – here we will concentrate on power sources.
B.1 The Solution Exists – but It's not Very Good
Mobile users in developing markets are notoriously quick to change their service providers. Many people carry several SIM cards and will use the one that provides the cheapest service. When outside of cities, the decision ...