According to Fairwave’s own description, this is what they are doing:
Fairwaves make rural mobile coverage profitable. We have built a unique technology that significantly lowers the cost of deploying and operating mobile networks in rural regions. Fairwaves is gaining a footprint in the telecommunications space by helping Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to roll out mobile networks to reach up-to 1.6 billion new customers.
Who Are Fairwaves?
Fairwaves is a Russian startup making a Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications base station that will enable $1/month mobile phone subscriptions. The company’s GSM network-in-the-box (NITB) base station costs $5000 compared to millions of dollars for traditional telephone communications and network equipment, it has low power needs at 100W, and serves a 10 km radius. It uses the Osmocom GSM stack, an open source initiative developing free software for mobile telephony, from the handset to the network.
You can even check out their online shop on how to purchase their base stations and set them up.
“In contrast to traditional mobile network solutions that are highly centralized, dependent upon backhaul and making heavy use of this, the Fairwaves solution is built upon a distributed VoIP core that benefits from local switching and is resilient to network failure”
What I love about this startup and technologies like this is the embrace of open source to make their solutions accessible and affordable.
I will file this away under a great example of Frugal Innovations!