HELLO? HELLO? VNL's GSM equipment brings rural communities into mobile range. | Photograph by Shashwat Nagpal
Consider the last mobile mile conquered, judging from the technology developed by the Indian startup VNL. Its solar-powered global-satellite-mobile (GSM) system is cheap (about $15,000, one-quarter the cost of traditional base stations), green (it requires only as much energy as a 50-watt lightbulb and produces zero emissions), and efficient (in six hours, the equipment can be assembled onto a home rooftop, no tech expertise required, and provide service to 2,000 users within a 2-mile radius). VNL has successfully deployed pilot projects in rural Indian villages, and last December, the World Economic Forum named it a Technology Pioneer for 2010. Next up: Africa, where two telecom companies will begin rolling out VNL's system this year.
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total revenues for most recent fiscal year
what the company is most famous for
In the 1970s, Mehrotra made his name by bringing cable TV to millions in India.
why it's innovative
For developing low-cost solar-powered cell-phone towers specifically designed to give mobile phone access to the billions of people worldwide living off the grid.