Rural customers in Nigeria may sooner have access to electricity through their local mobile service operator.  Using a solar panel and indoor unit, MTN customers will be able to subscribe to electricity on demand through their mobile devices.

An agreement between MTN and Nova-Lumos, a distributed utility provider, could see ‘mobile electricity’ becoming the next big thing in Africa’s most populated country.  With electrification rates of between 25 and 50%, this is also a bonus for MTN customers who live in rural areas without grid connected electricity.  Replacing kerosene, candles and flashlights with modern electricity will also give customers access to light, cellphones, computers, radio, TV and other small electronic devices.

“By paying for usage only in small payments, the same way our customers purchase airtime and other mobile services, MTN and Nova-Lumos will offer an innovative and widely-accessible service for all MTN customers,” said Michael Ikpoki, MTN Nigeria CEO.

“MTN is committed to investing in the future of mobile electricity to our customers across Nigeria,” he added.

The first Nova-Lumos systems will be publicly available on the MTN service points for the general public soon. A future announcement about the systems’ availability will be made by MTN.

“We are very excited about our partnership with MTN which will enable us to distribute the Nova-Lumos power systems across Nigeria and touch millions of lives,” said David Vortman, CEO and Co-Founder at Nova-Lumos.

“One of our guiding principles is that the Nova-Lumos service must be affordable and accessible to anyone in Nigeria in order to have a meaningful impact on the Nigerian electricity market,” he emphasized.

Nova Lumos in partnership with MTN Nigeria received funding from the GSMA’s Mobile Enabled Community Services (MECS) Innovation Grant Fund with the support of the UK Government. This grant is awarded to organizations developing innovations that improve access to energy and water among undeserved communities by leveraging mobile technology and infrastructure. The MECS Innovation Fund has helped to highlight the demand for mobile-enabled services and the role that mobile can play in supporting access to basic utility services across rural and urban markets.

Top Stories:
The next big place to grow renewable energy
Mobile electrification for Nigeria
Accenture and Siemens – OMNETRIC Group JV