Macro v/s Micro Network Solution – An in-depth comparison

Are you living or working in an area where there is no network connectivity? Do you find yourself wondering that why are mobile network operators not extending coverage to your area? Read along to understand what, are the challenges that MNOs are facing due to which they might never be able to furnish such areas and what is the alternate and more sensible solution available to this problem.

Deployment of a traditional mobile network site requires a lot of time and money. The whole process can take a few months and can cost as much as USD 250,000. Let’s understand the break-up of this cost. The tower construction forms a huge chunk of the cost as almost USD 150,000 is spent on the civil installation which includes pouring concrete, erecting the mast, installing the backup generators, fencing, air-conditioning and setting up the security systems. Additionally, installation of baseband processors, power supplies, amplifiers, etc. costs a minimum of USD 20,000. Then there are almost USD 5,000 worth of extra costs towards connecting the tower to the core network, depending on its location and infrastructure.

The operating costs also create significant overheads which, includes the cost of electricity & diesel to run the generator in the absence of grid power and the maintenance of all power equipments installed. The site will also require regular maintenance and dedicated manpower as well. Such recurring costs are among the major deterrents due to which Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) don’t venture into low density rural & remote areas.

To address this gap in the market, micro network-in-a-box solutions are being developed by a few companies across the world. An example of one such system is Omoco, which has been designed specifically keeping in mind the needs of low density, rural & remote areas. The average cost of an Omoco NIB deployment is around USD 9,999. No additional equipment is required to get the network up & running except for a power source. The advantages of the micro mobile network solution over a macro network site are manifold.

An Omoco system consumes very low power (45W) which is as low as a light bulb. If the area is off grid, the system can also be powered by solar panels. It can be installed in any kind of terrain, on a mast or a pole which is 15-30 metres in height. The whole installation can be completed in a matter of few hours. It is compact and portable weighing less than 5 KGS and can fit inside a backpack making it easy to carry anywhere. It can be installed & maintained by unskilled manpower in a matter of hours.

The solution is all weather proof and can be deployed both indoors and outdoors. One Omoco system can extend coverage up to 4-8 sq. KMS and support up to 500 subscribers. The network solution can be easily scaled as per the coverage and capacity required & it works both in standalone mode and in integration with mobile operators, on standard GSM frequencies. Also, maintenance of the site is fairly simple and can be managed by locals who get regional language support with the system.

Now you know which network solution suits your needs better. If you are looking to bridge the connectivity divide within your rural community or remote enterprise in a cost-effective way while getting good returns for your business and community get in touch with us via the “Contact Us” section or reach us at with your questions.