While the world is progressing towards the expansion of mobile networks, a coverage gaps remain as 10% of the world’s population, lacks access to voice and data services . More than 55% still lack access to the internet. The most secluded places in the world include the Indonesian Islands, which are still largely unconnected. Indonesia has so many islands, that you can easily take one on lease and name it after yourself. However, the provisioning of mobile networks in these remote islands is a challenge, for MNOs as well as government regulators.
For a country with an uneven distribution of population and difficult terrain, a 2G network can provide cutoff people with access to mobility.
Let’s discuss, why 2G fits the bill for Indonesia:
The backbone of a 2G network is TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) that splits the 900MHz spectrum (utilized by 2G) into multiple channels resulting in coverage to an increased number of users at one time. The network features include digital encryption, SMS based text messaging and packet data for Internet access. This covers the basic connectivity needs of remote areas.
A typical handover success rate for a mature 2G network is around 95%, which ensures that each user experiences a seamless call. As a result, connectivity between remote communities is feasible. An additional advantage of using 2G is that the battery doesn’t drain quickly as it doesn’t require much power. For the residents of remote Indonesian islands in areas where electrical power is scarce, handsets with a long battery life make sense.
The Challenge with 4G network
Considering operator incentives and desire for quicker returns on investments, implementing 4G services in areas with a low subscriber base can be challenging. The cost-benefit equation is based on scale, wherein the setup cost is spread among the potential customers in order to ensure quick returns which can be further re-invested.This model works well in urban cities, where the subscriber base is big. However, expansion in remote areas is exacerbated by the harsh terrain and uneven populations. Overall, the investment turns out to be uneconomic.
Successful 2G deployments in unconnected areas
Rwanda is a land-locked country in Eastern Africa. The lack of access to sea and unreliable air or road transport, for importing network equipment gave rise to increased costs and logistical challenges. Despite the weak business case, Rwanda achieved universal 2G network coverage with MTN, TIGO and Airtel Rwanda Ltd., covering around 99.9% of the population. This became attainable due to strict compliance guidelines set by the government on the mobile operators. Such success stories can be emulated in Indonesia with the Government’s support.
The Road Ahead
To drive development in remote areas, micro network solutions like Omoco, allow cut-off communities to take charge and be connected. Omoco’s system can work in standalone mode as well as in integration with mobile operators at standard GSM frequencies. What makes the system a winning bet for remote islands is the low investment and the quick turnaround time, in which the system can be set up.
The coverage gap can be narrowed down by shifting to micro networks like Omoco. If you wish to extend connectivity to your community, get in touch with us right away!