Journals: The TUCAN3G Project: Wireless Technologies for Isolated Rural Communities in Developing Countries Based on 3G Small Cell Deployments
Martínez Fernández, J. Vidal Manzano, Simó Reigadas, Prieto Egido, A. Agustin de Dios, Paco and Rendón


Recent years have witnessed a massive penetration of cellular systems in developing countries. However, isolated rural areas (sparsely inhabited by low-income population) have been disregarded because classical access and backhaul technologies do not ensure the return on investment. This article presents innovative techno-economical solutions to provide these areas with cellular voice and data services. We first analyze the general characteristics of isolated rural communities, and based on this information, low-cost solutions are designed for both access (using 3G access points) and backhaul networks (using non-carrier grade equipment as WiFi for long distances or WiMAX in non-licensed bands). Subsequently, a study of population-dependent income vs. costs is presented, and a new business model is proposed involving mobile network operators, rural operators, and infrastructure providers. In order to test these solutions, we have built two demonstration platforms in the Peruvian jungle that have allowed validation of the technical feasibility of the solution, verifying the business model assumptions and the scalability of the initiative.

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