Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


Flexenclosure Boasts Tower Power Breakthrough

Article Image
CAPE TOWN -- AfricaCom 2016 -- Power management systems specialist Flexenclosure claims it has developed and launched the first hybrid power system for remote telecom towers that is "fit for purpose" for outdoors deployment in areas of Africa where the power network is not available.

Briefing the media here today, Flexenclosure CEO David King said the company's new product, the eSite x10, is the only product of its kind as, unlike existing hybrid power systems (that use a variety of power sources including diesel and solar that also charge storage batteries), it hasnít been designed around components originally designed for indoor deployments that degrade easily outdoors.

"This is purpose-built to withstand the heat, humidity, vibrations and even monsoon rains of Africa and it's a single design for all deployment scenarios. It has a passive convection self-cooling system and the electronic components are bigger and stronger than normal to ensure that it doesn't break down. It has a soft-power switching system that reduces the reliance on diesel, its software is remotely upgradeable and it's a zero maintenance system that's been tested to the highest telecom industry standards," stated King, almost without drawing breath.

King also claims that the new product is designed to last ten years in the field and, as a result of all of these features, it has a 30% lower total cost of ownership compared with existing hybrid systems, though he declined to discuss comparison details. (All the calculations are Flexenclosureís and not from an independent source.)

Hug a Box Today!
Flexenclosure CEO David King has an emotional bond with his new product...
Flexenclosure CEO David King has an emotional bond with his new product...

Part of the lower operating costs of the new system come from its deployment: According to King it can be delivered by car and set up in less than a day by two people who need little training, compared with the current model that involves a larger trained team that would normally take two days and might need to use a crane for physical deployment.

All of this will be music to the ears of Africa's mobile tower and network operators, which currently mostly use diesel-fueled power systems for their remote/off-grid towers. Powering remote towers is a significant operational challenge and costly, so anything that can help make it easier and more efficient to keep the continent's mobile networks up and running would be a significant breakthrough.

Of course, Flexenclosure isn't the only company pitching the tower operator community: Huawei, which has significant business relationships with many of Africa's mobile operators, has its own power management solutions that it sells alongside its radio access network (RAN) gear, while IPT Powertech and Ascot Industrial are also competing for business in this market.

But what's the real market potential for Flexenclosure's new system?

Well, it's not limited to Africa or, indeed, the communications networking sector. King says there are about 1 million sites globally that are off grid or "bad grid," mostly in Asia (about 70%) and Africa (about 30%). Most are powered by diesel systems, with the rest (between 50,000 to 60,000 sites) using existing hybrid systems. "That's a big market to go after... and this system is also applicable to other verticals that also need remote power, such as banks for remote ATMs, education for schools and more," added the CEO.

Will the market take the bait? King says two existing customers, IHS Towers in Nigeria (along with local support/integration services company MPI) and Apollo Towers in Myanmar, are putting the eSite x10 through its paces.

The true test of the system, then, will be if those companies, or any others, order and deploy the new system on any scale. King is confident and hopeful they will: "We're pinning a lot on this development," he notes on the sidelines of AfricaCom.

ó Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Innovation hub


SA's Teraco to power data centers with 120MW solar plant

Teraco, the vendor-neutral data center provider, is planning the construction of a 120 megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) energy facility in the Free State province of South Africa.


Botswana prohibits Starlink, imposes penalties for lawbreakers

The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) has warned the public against the importation, use and resale of SpaceX's satellite Internet service Starlink's devices in the country.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: September 2023

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in September 2023 in the Middle East and Africa included more 5G spectrum licenses, vendor and operator strategies, and partnerships – that and more in this month's Omdia View.


Omdia View: August 2023

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in August 2023 in the Middle East and Africa included a commercial 5G launch from Ethio Telecom and the signing of a virtual wheeling agreement between Vodacom South Africa and Eskom – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002