Nokia Siemens Networks has introduced network operators and ICASA to its vision to increase wireless communications access to rural areas in South Africa via an innovative network infrastructure solution known as Village Connection.

The company is also launching the Village Connection solution in other key emerging markets in Africa in countries such as Nigeria; Tanzania; Kenya and Uganda. In these countries telecommunications is a current key driver for economic growth.
This is aligned to Nokia Siemens Networks’ resolve to use its deep local presence and know-how in each of the 150 countries in which it operates (with over 600 customers) to help connect 5 billion people by wire and wirelessly by one end of the planet to another by 2015 – with 20% of these people coming from new growth markets in Middle East and Africa.
Linda Khumalo, head of sub-region southern Africa at Nokia Siemens Networks, comments: “The challenge is to ensure the rate and roll-out of technology infrastructure is both appropriate and truly affordable. Village Connection has been researched and developed with this; and the needs of the operators and their current technology infrastructure, in mind.
"It’s unique in that it allows rural connectivity to be built village-by-village, which results in an innovative franchise-based business model between an operator and local village entrepreneurs.  Affordable telecommunications services for rural communities have been proven to improve peoples' lives and boost economic development. In countries with developing economies, for every 10% increase in mobile penetration, the gross domestic product (GDP) increases by 0.6%”
For network operators, Village Connection will also promote operational efficiency and allow them to lower their Capex (capital expenditure) and Opex (operational expenditure) – with the end-result being the sustainable development of their networks.
“About half the world’s population lives in villages and many of these people need access to mobile communication in order to reap the considerable welfare benefits technology brings. Mobile access can deliver significant economic improvements for people earning low incomes in rural communities, explains Khumalo.
“That is why Nokia Siemens Networks is actively committed to driving mobile innovation in South African and other countries across Africa. Innovative technologies and new business models are needed if the mobile community is to embrace lower-paying subscribers.
“Bringing mobile connectivity to the vast majority of people by 2015 will require finding new ways to lower cost connections, particularly in getting those in remote areas connected in South Africa.”