Intelligent Energy, Ltd. and NSR controlled Ascend Telecom Infrastructure Private Limited, serving all licensed mobile network operators in India, have signed a landmark multi-year agreement to provide efficient power for telecom towers across India. The collaboration focuses on delivering cost-effective, clean energy solutions, efficient energy management and reducing the environmental impact of India’s widespread telecom towers across urban, sub-urban and rural areas. The first phase of the deal has a reported value of about $82 million. The deal has a medium-term potential of more than $300 million.
Under the agreement, Intelligent Energy, through its wholly owned Indian division Essential Energy India Pvt Limited, is integrating effective power management solutions installed at Ascend Telecom towers. Ascend operates telecom towers across India with an installed power base of some 40MW. The partnership uses Ascend Telecom's extensive field service capability to deploy the most efficient power solutions for Telecom tower requirements. This includes installation of Intelligent Energy's advanced power solutions including fuel cell power systems with a view to reducing both operating costs and the carbon footprint relative to the current traditional diesel generators.
Dr. Henri Winand, Chief Executive Officer of Intelligent Energy Holdings plc said: "This is a landmark deal which holds out the prospect of real and significant cost reductions for the Indian mobile telecommunications industry. Because of its sheer size and the expectation that the number of telecom towers will almost double to 800,000 by 2020, India represents a huge opportunity. The market is already worth as much as $2.8 billion a year.
"The collaboration with Ascend alone is the equivalent of providing power to all the telecom towers in greater London serving more than 10 million end-consumers or about one-sixth of the UK population. Intelligent Energy's disruptive, proprietary fuel cell technology combined with a unique business approach represents a significant barrier to entry for other power companies seeking to enter the market place. We are able to deliver a compelling solution for the vast untapped distributed power management market in India. We also see scope to replicate this model across emerging markets in Africa and Southeast Asia," Dr. Winand concluded.
Mr. Sushil Kumar Chaturvedi, CEO, Ascend Telecom said: "Ascend is committed to providing industry-leading telecom infrastructure solution to its customers. The ability of our customers to offer anytime, anywhere mobile connectivity relies on the promise of Ascend's always-on telecom towers. Intelligent Energy's efficient green technology and power management solution further strengthens Ascend's efforts to ensure the delivery of this promise to our customers. This partnership is utilising mutual strengths to deliver innovative, reliable, and clean distributed power management systems for the Indian market in line with the emission targets set by the country's regulators."
The fast-growing Indian mobile telecommunications industry currently has some 425,000 telecom towers. However, nearly three-quarters of these do not have grid power for eight hours or more each day due to power cuts and rely on generators powered by diesel, the majority of the fuel imported at significant cost to the Indian economy, in order for consumers to make mobile phone calls.
India's telecom tower generators consume around 2.6 billion liters of diesel a year – making the industry the second-largest consumer of diesel in the country and, despite government subsidies for diesel fuel, operate at dollar-per-kilowatt-hour rates which are more than 10 times the cost of grid electricity in India. This, in turn, is eroding the profits of India's mobile service providers. Intelligent Energy, which delivers efficient and clean energy technology for the global consumer electronics, automotive and stationary power markets, is working on providing improved, clean and cost-efficient power solutions including by assisting in the management of this power generation and, over time, by deploying its proprietary zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell technology in the generators.