Industry Overview

Access to reliable connectivity is becoming increasingly essential. Yet, the distribution of internet and cellular services around the world is uneven. There is a substantial digital divide in which many developing countries and rural regions completely lack connectivity. For instance, 871 million people in Africa completely lack access to the internet, and only 25% of the population used the internet in 2016, compared to the 80% rate of adoption in Europe. Africa has a young, fast-growing population which means that the number of people in need of communication services is going to drastically increase.

The benefits of serving these under-connected populations are myriad. Having access to the internet will help regions overcome economic barriers to development. Also, connecting the unconnected will enhance social, and economic well-being by providing increased access to health services, as well as business and employment opportunities. Therefore, there is considerable pent-up demand in the rural telecom market in Africa and Latin America. Governments are working to accelerate internet adoption by launching initiatives such as Internet Para Todos in Latin America. This initiative looks to meet the demand for telecom service and bring 100 million people online.

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Industry Challenges

Why Smart Off-Grid is Key

Poor Local Power Supply

The grid in remote areas is either non-existent or unreliable. The unreliability of the grid poses a significant challenge for providing reliable mobile connectivity to the area. Mission-critical services like telecommunications cannot rely upon poor power infrastructure.

High Services Cost

The low population density of the rural regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, major markets for the telecommunications industry, makes rural telephony a commercial challenge. With a low number of mobile subscribers, the Average Revenue Per Unit (ARPU) of internet service providers is too low to sustain a profitable business model.

Costly Maintenance for Remote Sites

Maintenance is a major challenge in remote rural telecom, and it further contributes to telecommunications being cost-prohibitive. When maintenance site visits are required to repair poor infrastructure, costs increase dramatically.


The Solution: Nano-Grid Power System

Providing low-cost, reliable connectivity to remote regions must begin with the power. Clear Blue’s Smart Off-Grid provides an ideal solution to the challenges of this market. Through its modular design, Nano-Grid is precisely sized to meet the site’s unique energy system’s requirements, minimizing upfront costs, while being flexible to grow with the growing needs of the population. The remote monitoring and management capabilities provided by Clear Blue’s cloud software, Illumience, reduce operating costs by reducing costly maintenance visits. Nano-Grid’s flexibility enables low-cost telecommunications service for rural areas.

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Key Players

It takes a number of specialized players to bring connectivity to the world. Here are some of the key participants in connecting the unconnected.

  • Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)

    An MNO, also known as a carrier service provider, mobile phone operator or mobile network carrier, is a telecommunications service provider organization that provides
    wireless voice and data communication for its subscribed mobile users.

  • Radio Access Network (RAN) Providers

    A RAN provider connects individual devices to other parts of a network through radio connections i.e., 3G and 4G network connections for mobile phones.

  • Wireless Backhaul

    Backhaul providers are responsible for the wireless communication and network infrastructure responsible for transporting communication data from end users or nodes to the central network or infrastructure.

  • Tower companies/infrastructure providers

    Tower companies or infrastructure providers supply and manage the telecommunications infrastructure required for connectivity. They often work closely with the power

Industry Stats

People in Africa still not connected to the mobile internet
Increase in smartphone connections in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025
Increase in mobile internet users by 2025
of new subscribers by 2025 that come from Nigeria, Ethiopia, DRC, Tanzania and Kenya combined

Pages you might be interested in

Nano-Grid Power Solution

Discover the Smart Off-Grid power solution specially designed for telecom applications.


Learn more about the innovation behind Smart Off-Grid solutions.


Look at Smart Off-Grid in action with installations in the telecom sector.