Except for new entry operators, the mobile companies have reached the edge of their addressable markets in most countries. If that's true for voice, the situation is much worse for data where operators are primarily focused on the richer urban markets.
But with the rise of Internet use in
Two of Volo Broadband's co-founders,
For example, it built a 20-30 mbps link to an island in the middle of
But whereas these networks came from either public or NGO initiatives, Volo Broadband is aimed squarely at helping three types of existing operators - mobile operators, existing ISPs and greenfield ISPs - address these types of markets.
For the mobile operators Volo Broadband offers solutions that will reduce both
For the existing ISP, they can be a technology and systems provider who has the experience of operating in remote and rural areas and can help them build the people and skill expertise they need to address this market. For greenfield ISPs, it has used its experience with Inveneo to build business models that can help the start-up ISP identify the business it has to win to be successful.
In geographic terms, it is focused on Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of
This week has seen low-cost base station operator Altobridge go into liquidation. It was seeking to persuade mobile operators to use its low-cost base station to do voice and data in remote areas.
Despite some successes - in
However Summer is optimistic that there will be opportunities for two reasons. Firstly, mobile operators are increasingly outsourcing their network to third parties and thus will be more receptive to these kinds of approaches.
Secondly, in the ISP space (particularly in
In technology terms, Volo Broadband is focused on using existing Wi-Fi technology which is cheap both in terms of network and end-user equipment:"What we find interesting is that the technology is changing. People like
The 802.AC Wi-Fi standard will lead to greater efficiencies in spectrum use and deliver Gigabit Ethernet, where it will begin to compete with microwave and WiMAX solutions. Volo Broadband will be able to use Wi-Fi to deliver up to 100 kms backhaul network, as Inveneo did with the island in
So who will operators find as customers in these markets?:"SMEs have a lot of problems in these areas. But there's also Government offices, schools and healthcare facilities. These are all customers who are paying quite high prices for connectivity and it's of unpredictable quality. Down the road, they can also branch out into the consumer space".
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