A new Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity, backed by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by the GSMA has been launched by the GSMA.
The Fund is aimed at expanding digital inclusion through innovative new technology solutions for connecting unserved rural communities.
Providing grants up to £300,000, the Fund is open to eligible companies who can deploy solutions in Uganda or Ghana, in partnership with MTN Uganda and Vodafone Ghana respectively.
Funded projects will test innovative ways to deploy mobile broadband networks in rural areas, looking to demonstrate commercially sustainable models that can be scaled and replicated in similar environments.
John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA said, “Mobile operators are committed to advancing connectivity in rural areas as they work to deliver commercially sustainable solutions to accelerate progress against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity will drive partnerships aimed at developing new ways of using mobile technologies to close coverage gaps in rural areas so that more citizens have access to life-enhancing mobile services.”
Successful grantees and their partners will receive advice and guidance from the GSMA.
This includes analytical support to identify commercially viable sites for deployment, and full technical and commercial performance reports.
Applications will need to focus on at least one of the following areas: active base station technology; passive infrastructure; energy; backhaul; operation and maintenance; or sustainable business models.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.
The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.