As organizations such as Google and Facebook race to bring their web services to the next billion people, there is a real boom in store for companies which specialize in remote connectivity.
Satellite and flexible, affordable base station solutions are in vogue, not just for underserved consumers, but for enterprises which need to connect up remote locations and equipment for the first time in order to support mobile-first and IoT strategies.
One company which could benefit from this trend is NuRAN Wireless of Canada, which has raised its profile by joining Facebook’s Telecom Infra Project (TIP). TIP looks to shake up the economics of mobile networks with commoditized, open source hardware, a shift which will be particularly relevant in remote areas where it has been hard to justify investment in a cellular RAN.
NuRAN’s LiteRAN 2G base station for remote areas is being validated under TIP, and it will also distribute products based on the Facebook/TIP OpenCellular design for an open small cell, as those emerge.
Now, the Philippines’ Globe Telecom has selected NuRAN to conduct the next phase of its trial rural connectivity program. Globe will use NuRAN’s LiteCell 1.5 base stations, connected using a decentralized GSM network topology, in an initial 50 sites in various villages across the Philippines.
Globe will also use the recently announced NuRAN Open Access (NOA) software suite, which includes the Community Cellular Manager (CCM) solution. This manages prepaid charging and other aspects of localized processes.
The agreement marks the next stage of a trial that commenced with the deployment of the same equipment at two sites in the Philippines in the fourth quarter of last year.
During the same period, Globe also worked with NuRAN on a trial using TV white spaces spectrum with wireless backhaul.
“We are proud to be partnering with Globe Telecom on this important initiative. The Philippines is an important market for NuRAN with a large rural and remote population desperate for connectivity,” NuRAN Wireless CEO Martin Bedard said.
Such initiatives illustrate how operators are using an increasingly varied set of technologies and solutions to achieve universal access cost-effectively. This is not confined to emerging markets – in the UK, EE has employed several innovative approaches, including open source base stations from Lime Microsystems and Canonical, and virtualized clusters of rural small cells from Parallel Wireless, to extend connectivity to remote communities.