Using a Single Box Supplied By Endaga, You Can Become a Cellular Network Provider Overnight
Do you live in a remote area without cellular network coverage? Do you wish to run your own cellphone network but you are inhibited by the high costs of equipment and installation? Is your network service provider unreliable, do you think data, SMS and Voice Call should be affordable? If you fall into one of these groups, then you might be happy to know that there is a startup which is providing a cellular network in a box. All you need to do is buy the box, set up your rates, hook the box up a tree or pole, dish out SIM cards and you are ready to go.
Endaga is a for-profit company based in the USA that supplies these boxes. According to their website, they aim to provide internet and cellular coverage to more than 1 billion people who live in remote areas. These are people who live in unserviced areas where internet and cellular coverage is out of reach.
However, before you clap your hands in excitement, there are challenges which need to be overcome before you dream of setting up your own cellular service. The investment for acquiring an Endaga box is only 6,000 USD and the price is expected to go down by 80% over the next 5 years. The box can provide a network coverage of 10km and it comes handy with management tools that allow you to bill customers, transfer credit, data, SMS and voice calls. No technical skills are needed to set up the box. The device makes use of OpenBTS technology to generate VOIP and is powered by solar panels, making it suitable for unelectrified villages. You can set up the box within an instant but it is illegal to set up a cellular network base station without approval from the authorities. Some people have tried to set up their own cellular station [ not an Endaga box] and they ended up in trouble.
So How Do You Do It Legally?
To comply with local network operation rules, you have to apply to the Licensing Authority as a Network Service Provider. When you get the greenlight, go ahead and set up your network like other well-known competitors in your location. You may be required to pay fees for making a backhaul connection.
Examples of Places where Endaga Has Been Successfully Implemented
The good news is that the Endaga network in a box is being successfully implemented without obstacles in countries like Indonesia and plans are underway to introduce the innovation in Pakistan, Panama, Afghanistan, Philippines and South Africa.
In Indonesia, the Endaga box has been installed in a small town called Papua. The box is owned by a local school, and up to now, over 400 people have bought SIM cards to get connected to the only cellular network in town. Before Endaga, school teachers and other locals had to travel 4 hours out of town just to get access to the major network. The Endaga network service in Papua makes use of a satellite backhaul connection. Depending on the type of network infrastructure setup in your country, a different type of backhaulconnection might be required, i.e. fiber, copper or microwave options.
Backhaul Options for Endaga
As discussed above, the network infrastructure in your area will determine the type of backhaul that you need to connect to. You have to get permission to access the backhaul.However, things will get interesting when organizations like Google, Facebook and Microsoft launch their projects for free internet access worldwide. If you have been following the experiments and developments by these organizations, Facebook is working on internet.org, a project to deliver free internet via drones and Google is in the final stages of testing Google Loon, a project to deliver free internet via balloons. A rollout is expected to begin in June, 2015.
In the event of a successful worldwide deployment of these internet projects, Facebook Drones and Google Balloons will provide a backhaul connection in remote areas, allowing you to connect an Endaga receiver. Obviously an Endaga box is one of the options that would be available among other devices supplied by third parties in the market.
Who Can Benefit From Endaga
The CEOs of Endaga say their service is designed for entrepreneurs, hustlers and community leaders in remote areas. If you are an enterprising person in a community that lacks cellular services, then you might find this service attractive. Besides the business benefits, Endaga helps unconnected communities to get connected to their loved ones and the world through a standard cellphone, which is quite affordable in many developing countries.You can browse the internet from a remote location on a mobile browser for cellphones (e.g. Nokia Express, Opera Mini), log into your Gmail account, use Whatsapp and Facebook.