Mary Roach (GSMA MECS)

Lessons from early pioneers in the
mobile-enabled energy sector
The GSMA represents the interests of
mobile operators worldwide. Spanning
219 countries, the GSMA unites nearly
800 of the world’s mobile operators, as
well as more than 200 companies in the
broader mobile ecosystem, including
handset makers, software companies,
equipment providers, Internet companies,
and media and entertainment
Mobile Enabled Community Services
The GSMA Mobile Enabled Community Services (MECS) programme leverages mobile
technology & infrastructure to improve access to basic energy and water services
Funding & Timeframe:
• £4.1M in funding (including £2.4M Innovation Grant fund) from DFID’s Climate, Energy & Water Team
to be deployed in 2013-2014
Programme Activities:
• Knowledge Sharing and Convening
• Technical Assistance
• Innovation Fund
• Market Building
Market Opportunity &
Innovation Fund
Mobile-enabled products & services in Asia Pacific
The size of the opportunity
1.2 Billion
Lack Power
Energy Addressable Market
Latin America & the Carribean
East Asia and the Pacific
Sub Saharan Africa
643 Million
have GSM
South Asia
150 200 250 300
Millions of people
Accelerating the MECS ecosystem
Mobile supports energy through:
• Payments & affordability
• Remote monitoring & control
• Acting as an anchor tenant
• Improving efficiency of operations
through mobile applications
• Supporting last mile distribution
The MECS Innovation Fund
MECS Innovation Fund Objectives
• Accelerate efforts using mobile technology to enable improved or increased access to water or
energy services for underserved communities
• Identify innovative business models that can support mobile innovations for energy and water
• Generate knowledge about the application of mobile enabled services which can be shared with the
development community and mobile industry
• Stimulate productive partnerships between mobile operators/tower companies and energy provides,
water providers, NGOs, entrepreneurs and academics to achieve these objectives at scale
MECS Grantees
Lessons from early
Key Lessons
• Mobile can help companies develop more in-depth customer insights
• PAYG has proven that customers do have willingness and ability to pay
• Service over technology: Off-grid customers require reliable service, technology will only get you so far
• Beyond lighting and phone charging: companies can help their customers climb their energy ladder
Benefits of M2M and Mobile Money integration
M-KOPA communicates a
customer’s balance to the
solar system via M2M
The solar unit/control
panel communicates
information about
performance and usage
back to the M-KOPA
Customer pays MKOPA using mobile
communicates the
credit balance to
Growing number of PAYG companies & Models
The use of M2M is still highly debated due to costs and GSM coverage
Off-net and on-net credit transfer mechanisms are being trialled (code via keypad)
Global activity: from the Philippines through Latin America (20+ companies)
Estimate 140k PAYG home solar systems in East Africa alone
Off.Grid: Electric - Tanzania
Mobisol – Tanzania & Rwanda
Leveraging presence of mobile infrastructure
Mobile infrastructure can support energy access initiatives:
• Inside the fence: Leveraging existing power equipment to provide services to the community
• Outside the fence: 3rd party energy service companies can use the mobile tower as an anchor
customer and provide services to the community
Example: OMC Power in India
24/7 Power to tower
Leases product to customers
Home delivery
OMC Power status
Takeaways and status:
• Mobile Tower Company makes them bankable
• 2/3 of revenues coming from communities (3000 households in 10km radius)
• Scaling to 200 plants
• Invest in product innovation: Electric vehicles, village level Wi-Fi
Mary Roach