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CompactRANA low-power cellular base station dubbed the ‘CompactRAN’ which weighs just five kilograms and consumes 50 watts is being rolled out in Zambia.

The device connects up to 1,000 people. Features of the CompactRAN include a GSM or EDGE network operating in the 850, 900, 1,800 or 1,900 MHz frequency band.

One location where the device is being used is Chaimiaka, a village that is 115 kilometers from the Zambian capital, Lusaka. The units require backhaul equipment to handle the connection to the main network. In Chaimiaka, this is reportedly done with a microwave transmitter that links village communications with a base station 17 kilometers away.

In other settings, a satellite connection or fibre backhaul may be used. Photovoltaics, batteries, generators and even a grid connection can also power the device. The gadget is planned to target rural areas in countries such as Zambia.

Zambia’s ICT sector has about one million internet users and about seven million phone users, out of as population of 13.2 million. The country’s internet connectivity is concentrated mainly in urban areas, as traditional internet service providers view rural areas as economically unviable to recoup their investments.

Radio Specifications

Two type-N antenna port per outdoor unit
Output power:
1 TRX 10 watts per TRX
2 TRXs 5 watts per TRX
Receive sensitivity: -110 dBm
SMA antenna port for GPS antenna

GSM/EDGE
850, 900, 1800, or 1900 MHz Band
Capacity: 2 TRX per outdoor unit

Credit: ITWeb Africa