How Even the Remotest Parts of the World Are Getting Mobile Coverage
For mobile operators, setting up shop in some of the remotest places on earth can bring rich rewards, but also tremendous risk. Sometimes the risk is too much—Digicel founder Denis O’Brien said his company lost nine people in “plane crashes, accidents, car crashes” when it was building its network in Papua New Guinea—and as often, the reward is too little. As a result, 10% of the world’s population lives in places without mobile coverage (pdf).
Endaga, a tiny startup that just raised $1.2 million in funding, may have another way.
As part of his doctoral work at Berkeley, Endage founder Kurtis Heimerl built a box that can be installed pretty much anywhere—the first one was fitted on a tree—and provide cellular coverage over a 10 km (6.2 mile) radius. The box uses regular radio spectrum to connect to mobile phones in its area, converting it to voice over internet protocol (VoIP) in order to connect to the rest of the world.