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Digital Inclusion

World Telecom Labs Teams Up With eWATERpay

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PRESS RELEASE -- AfricaCom 2018 -- World Telecom Labs (WTL) has partnered with eWATERpay to include the provision of water into its multi-award–winning Vivada Rural Infrastructure Ecosystem.

The Vivada system from WTL has been deployed across Africa winning multiple awards in the process, including Best Connectivity Solution for Africa at the 2016 AfricaCom awards.

As well as providing voice and data in rural and semi-urban areas, Vivada also generates solar power that can be connected to a mini-grid to provide power to homes and businesses living off-grid or in areas with unreliable grid supplies.

The provision of metered water using eWATERpay’s award-winning business model has now been incorporated into Vivada following demand from a number of organisations active in rural Africa.

eWATERpay will extend the water supply to villages and install taps. Its technology allows people to pre-pay for water using cash or mobile money, made possible by WTL’s Vivada wifi and GSM network. Water credit can also be purchased and shared by government (to schools and health clinics) or urban diaspora (to family).

eWATERpay also provides water authorities with a digital dashboard that captures and processes real-time data on litres of water sold, revenue collected, number of users at each water point, and any detected leaks or malfunctions in the water system.

Alex Burton, eWaterpay’s CEO said: “This is a very exciting relationship with WTL but most importantly it offers transformation to rural communities by providing a one stop utility service that is sustainable and robust. We are very much looking forward to seeing Vivada being deployed in more rural communities across Africa.”

Leigh Smith, MD of WTL, said: “Our Vivada system was originally developed to provide voice and data. However, in many areas we are the only infrastructure company and so people continually ask us to provide other services. We are delighted to now be able to add the supply of water to our portfolio as we know from first hand experience that demand is extremely high.”

WTL continues to champion the National Roaming model across Africa to increase coverage, improve service levels and encourage competition.

National Roaming has two components:

- Building new shared networks in rural areas where there is little or no coverage at the moment. These would be built by a neutral service provider and used by existing operators. Allocating USF money to the CAPEX cost of such networks would reduce the risk.

- Enabling people to use the network of other service providers where their own service provider does not have a network or has limited network coverage. In effect, operators share their infrastructure thus eliminating the need to lay duplicate infrastructures in areas where this is not commercially feasible.

With infrastructure sharing now being considered across Africa, WTL firmly believes that the removal of the CAPEX cost of building a rural network will encourage previously reluctant operators to start offering services in these areas.

WTL is already working with MNOs and wholesale operators across Africa to build rural networks, with power and water provided as appropriate.

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