Thursday, March 28, 2013

Company offering new cell-phone technology designed for sparsely populated rural areas

Better cellular coverage could be coming to rural America. "Range Networks, which says its technology slashes the cost of networks so much that carriers can make money on subscribers paying $2 to $3 per month, is expanding its target markets to include small, rural carriers in North America," Stephen Lawson writes for PC World magazine. 

A Range Networks base station
Range has already supplied private networks in remote locations, including a research station in Antarctica, a remote village in Indonesia that can only reach the outside world via satellite, and temporary sites, such as the Burning Man festival, Lawson notes. "At the heart of Range’s approach is the open base transceiver station, an open-source software platform that can run on standard server hardware that is based on the 3GPP family of standards, which include protocols used by most carriers around the world."

David Burgess, co-founder and CEO of Range, told Lawson that "mobile operators serving lightly populated areas anywhere in the world have a hard time making money because they have so much land to cover and so few customers to absorb the cost of covering it. Range’s answer is a system that talks to standard phones over a radio-access network the same way existing cellular systems do, but uses voice-over-Internet protocol on the back end."

Analysts say "Range’s proposition could help rural carriers get started, expand their coverage or add 3G or 4G service, but it won’t overcome all the challenges they face," Lawson writes. "Trying to convince new folks to move into this space is going to be a tough sell." (Read more)

No comments: