Range Networks and Rhizomatica Bring Global Communication to Oaxaca

Indigenous Mexican Community Provided Cellular Access for the First-Time

Jun 25, 2013, 08:00 ET from Range Networks

SAN FRANCISCO, June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Range Networks, the leading provider of American-made commercial open source cellular systems, today announced a partnership with Rhizomatica, a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase access to mobile telecommunications for those without affordable coverage, or any coverage at all. The collaboration between Range Networks and Rhizomatica provides a rural community outside of Oaxaca, Mexico with their own cellular network.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130320/MM81007LOGO)


  • Developing countries underserved: According to the ITU, the official source for global Information and Communications Technology statistics, more than 18 million individuals do not have access to cellular network service across Mexico.
  • First community-owned and operated GSM network: Through its efforts to educate communities across the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, Rhizomatica has deployed the first independent GSM (cell phone) network.
  • Local and global voice and SMS service: Covering a village of approximately 2500 residents, where traditional cellular service was previously non-existent, the network is now serving over 450 residents who are able to make local and global calls and send text messages. Today, the community has its own cellular infrastructure, including billing and management of the network on their own.
  • Reduced complexity: Range Networks open source software, in conjunction with its 5150 base station, operates as a self-contained network replacing the need for traditional core network infrastructure and associated costs for equipment, power and maintenance. Because this particular deployment does not need to perform roaming, the network functions as MSC, VLR and HLR and can be expanded to multiple sites as demand grows.
  • Minimal usage costs: Residents can now make local calls for a flat fee of $1.20 per user, per month and global calls for $0.02 per minute.

Peter Bloom, coordinator, Rhizomatica, said: "OpenBTS and Range Networks have single-handedly made community-based mobile service a reality. Through our partnership we've successfully created an economically viable network that will have long-term benefits for this community." 

Keyla, village resident and cellular subscriber, said: "It's really a huge step that an indigenous community in the middle of the mountains now has cellular phone service. Now we are seeing that it is possible for anyone with a mobile phone to access the service and at a very low cost. We see endless possibilities for expanding the network, saving our residents and their families a significant amount of money as they communicate with family and friends around the world."

David Burgess, CEO, Range Networks, co-inventor of the OpenBTS Project, said: "It's always been our mission to provide affordable and reliable cellular service to rural communities around the world.  Our work with Rhizomatica is one more success story that proves cellular access in remote regions is not only possible, but also profitable for providers who may be reluctant to enter these markets."  

OpenBTS Project - http://openbts.org
Rhizomatica Group- http://rhizomatica.org
Rhizomatica Deployment Video - https://vimeo.com/63170627
ITU Telecom - http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/stat/default.aspx

About Range Networks

Range Networks is the future of cellular networks. Founded by the inventors of OpenBTS, the Company provides the only commercial open source cellular system. Range Networks' products are made in the U.S.A., and are simple to deploy and manage at a fraction of the cost of alternative solutions. Based on open standards, Range Networks provides connectivity to existing 2G/3G and 4G networks to rural communities, remote outposts and emergency crews. Additional information is available at: www.rangenetworks.com.

Kim Dearborn
Nadel Phelan, Inc.

SOURCE Range Networks