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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thursday 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.

Click here to find out more!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.”
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Remote parts of Congo may soon get mobile coverage

A femtocell creates a private wireless network

Remote rural communities of Congo may soon have mobile coverage, thanks to an international collaboration.

Pan-African telecom provider RascomStar-QAF, Viasat and UK-based ip.address plan to use small cells called femtocells to ensure coverage even in the Congo's rainforest.

Femtocells are usually used to deliver a private signal in your home if it is outside the coverage area.

The aim is to install 50 such mini base stations around Congo this summer.

RascomStar, the company that operates Rascom-QAF1, the first satellite entirely dedicated to Africa, said it aims to expand the pilot into a larger-scale commercial launch in 2013, extending it to at least 10 other African countries.

"Our services were developed to provide affordable universal access telephony in rural and remote areas… together with our partners, we believe that we have designed a service that meets the needs of a region undeserved by mobile and indeed fixed telephony," Faraj Elamari, head of RascomStar-QAF, said in a statement.
Lack of towers

When the satellite was launched in 2010, one of the goals was to provide the African continent with mobile network coverage.

But in many remote and rural parts, people are still unable to use mobile phones simply because of the lack of necessary infrastructure.

Since mobile communications rely on airwaves to work, once transmissions hit a telecommunications tower, it is up to the wireless networks in the area to ensure coverage.

But in Africa's remote corners, there are simply not enough of these towers - and to solve the issue, the RascomStar-QAF turned to international collaboration.

A UK company called ip.access agreed to supply femtocells - the smallest access nodes that exist - around Congo, with one gateway in the capital, Brazzaville.

Each cell will then create a private wireless network in a particular area.

A femtocell is easy to use - and the company says that it could be put up by someone with basic technical knowledge.

This way, the femto solution would be much simpler and cheaper than having to build new towers and expensive base stations.

"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," said Simon Brown, chief executive of ip.access.

"It's a great project to be part of and we look forward to its expansion into other African countries."
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