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Transition towards green energy: Telecom sector needs govt’s support

The Green Power for Mobile Afghanistan and Pakistan Specific Working Group, co-organised by the GSMA and co-hosted by Telenor Pakistan, was conducted on Tuesday at a local hotel in Islamabad. The event stressed upon the business challenges faced by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) due to acute energy crisis and also identified the expected role of relevant stakeholders to explore and subsequently deploy long-term sustainable solutions.

Telenor Pakistan Chief Technology Officer Gyorgy Koller welcomed the participants and said, “Environmental protection is one of the goals of Telenor Group and there has been a lot of focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Transformation towards sustainable energy involves certain challenges in terms of implementation and investment; we look forward towards government’s cooperation on areas highlighted in the event.”

While sharing government’s resolve to support the deployment of green telecoms in Pakistan, Minister of State for IT and Telecom Anusha Rahman encouraged MNOs to convert to renewable energy sources, in order to make savings on operational cost and subsequently creating sustainable businesses, minimising environmental impact and improve communities’ living standards. She offered full cooperation of the government to develop a long-term sustainable eco-system for the deployment of renewable energy solutions to power telecommunications industry in terms of business-friendly policy-making and full utilisation of the existing Universal Services Fund. “The government of Pakistan is committed to transform the country into an IT and telecom hub by ensuring an investment friendly atmosphere and capitalizing on the amply available skilled and dedicated human resources,” she remarked.

On this occasion, Telenor Pakistan Director Infrastructure Deployment Mudasar Hussain Mian during his presentation stressed upon the need for sustainable transition of telecom sector towards green energy, which can only be achieved through multi-industry cooperation (energy solution manufacturing, petrochemicals, utility, transportation etc) under the patronage of the government. He also said that Telenor Pakistan intends to work closely with the government and all relevant stakeholders to develop green energy transition roadmap for Pakistan that is realistic, sustainable and mutually beneficial to both the telecom sector and the local community.

The role of Universal Service Fund (USF) was also highlighted in promoting and implementing green energy solutions in rural areas. Speakers believe that with the help of USF, the industry can also focus on community based initiatives to create shared value by investing in heavier systems and selling the excess energy to local communities directly or indirectly. This will have a manifold benefit for all players involved; green energy implementation, inclusion of local communities, additional power supply and economies of scale for telecom operators.

It is pertinent to note that Telenor Pakistan is undergoing a countrywide network modernization project, which is near completion and will reduce its energy consumption by 24 percent. Also, 48 of Telenor Pakistan’s BTS sites are already running on Genset-hybrid Solar Energy Solutions.

Sharing its resolve to further its ambition in green energy drive Telenor Pakistan urged the government to develop a multifaceted approach to facilitate and promote green energy uniformly across the telecom industry. Telenor Pakistan also sought support from suppliers to provide the industry with innovative solutions at low capital investment justifiable for operators.

With 58 delegates representing 21 different industry stakeholders engaged in a lively discussion around green telecom issues on the opening day, the event received an overwhelming response. The event also featured panel discussions and case studies based on best practices from other countries.

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