Congo femtocell pilot could spawn DIY mobile networks for isolated communities

It's nice to get a delivery, but what if your remote village could use the contents to finally talk to the rest of the world? That's what African communications company RascomStar-QAF is cooking up with a pilot network in the Congo's jungles. They're going in to villages throughout the African nation and installing 50 router-like femtocells -- normally used in homes for better cellphone access -- from UK vendor ip.access. Those devices will be connected through the ViaSat orbiting network to RascomStar's telecom gateway in the capital, Brazzaville. Since the femtocell setup is nearly automatic, anyone with limited technical knowledge could do it, rather than the team of engineers normally needed for more complex networks. The result would be a system which could be shipped in a box, connecting previously inaccessible areas to a telecom network -- a lot bigger deal than the WiFi veranda project we were thinking of. To see how it'll all come together, connect to the press release below for more details.

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ip.access small cells powering deployments in remote Congo communities with RascomStar-QAF and ViaSat

Cambridge, 31 May 2012: RascomStar-QAF, the pan-African satellite operator, will deliver mobile coverage and fixed telephony access for IPX Extenso in remote and rural areas of the Republic of Congo through a unique collaboration with ViaSat and ip.access.

RascomStar-QAF offers end-to-end remote and rural solutions including phone boxes, remote base stations and its own VSAT terminals – all connected to the operator's core network by satellite backhaul. These innovative solutions, which have been developed in partnership with ViaSat and ip.access, allow operators to minimize not only the initial investment but also to reduce recurring costs.

To deliver the service, ip.access small cells will be deployed in around 50 sites throughout the country with one gateway in the capital. Installation and the first pilot service will begin this summer with plans to widen the deployment in 2013 and include at least ten more countries in the central African region.

The service will use ip.access small cells and gateway technology to deliver mobile coverage and services directly into the heart of the remote communities. Simon Brown, CEO of ip.access said the company was proud to be associated with the project and praised the work of the development team involved.

"Working closely with our partners we have helped to create an end to end system by using our expertise in small cell deployments to bring voice and Internet access to previously unconnected parts of the world at a price-point they can afford. It's a great project to be part of and we look forward to its expansion into other African countries," he said.

Faraj Elamari, CEO of RascomStar-QAF added: "Our services were developed to provide affordable universal access telephony in rural and remote areas and have a particular role to play serving low ARPU communities. Together with our partners, we believe that we have designed a service that meets the needs of a region underserved by mobile and indeed fixed telephony."

About ip.access

Headquartered in Cambridge, UK, ip.access Ltd is an innovator, developer and manufacturer of small cell infrastructure solutions for home, business, or public use and is an acknowledged world-leader across a number of key measures.

The company's range of small cell (picocell and femtocell) solutions for 3G, EDGE GSM and LTE deployments combine IP and wireless technologies and have all the key components needed – small cell access points, converged access gateways, and network management solutions – to help operators drive down costs and increase the coverage and capacity of mobile networks.

ip.access is the company behind the multi-award winning Oyster 3G® femtocell technology, which dramatically improves indoor 3G coverage and overall network capacity. Oyster 3G is the core femtocell technology 'inside' AT&T's 3G MicroCell – the world's largest consumer small cell deployment.

The company's nanoGSM® and nano3G® picocell solutions provide 2G and 3G coverage and capacity for offices, shops, stations, remote rural areas and even passenger aircraft and ships, with live installations in more than 60 networks around the world.

ip.access counts Amadeus Capital Partners, Cisco, Intel Capital, Qualcomm, Rothschild, Scottish Equity Partners and TE Connectivity among its shareholders.

Email: info[at]ipaccess[dot]com

About RascomStar-QAF

RascomStar-QAF (RSQ) operates the satellite RASCOM-QAF1R (RQ1R) launched in August 2010. for a global lifetime of 18 years. RQ1-R is already used by many customers, telecom operators, TV broadcasters, private companies, Internet service providers, ...

RascomStar-QAF mission has been to develop sustainable and profitable solutions for telecommunications in African remote areas. RascomStar-QAF differentiates from other satellite operators by selling end to end managed services, including the ground equipment and stations. RascomStar-QAF selected VIASAT Inc, a leader among the ground equipment vendors, to develop low cost rural stations, well fitted to remote areas and severe environment.

About IPX Extenso

IPX Extenso is a Mauritius based, Active Infrastructure Operator, specialized in network extension to rural and low-density areas for partnering Mobile Network Operators.

IPX's leases its vertically integrated infrastructure, to provide turn-key services to operators willing to profitably extend their network coverage to rural and low-density areas.Insert your Press Release here!