A Clear Path Forward

December 13, 2018

Today, Vanu is announcing the development of VanuMaps™, a new coverage mapping tool that has the potential to change the business equation in the effort to connect the unconnected.

We will admit – “new mapping resources” doesn’t have quite the same zing to it as “the new iPhone,” but we’re still pretty pumped about it. Why? Glad you asked…

  • 1.2 billion people lack mobile connectivity worldwide. Connectivity is essential for inclusion in educational, health care, governance, identity and business ecosystems.
  • There’s a business and technology model able to profitably connect rural populations and operators are recognizing new opportunities. The combination of small-cell, solar-powered network architecture and wholesale network extension represent the best path forward for both MNOs and their customers. But…
  • …maximizing a small-cell architecture requires a precise answer to the question “where are the people located who need coverage?” You need high resolution accuracy information about population distribution and movement, terrain, propagation and pre-existing coverage in order to ensure you invest in the right locations. .

Access to coverage data at the granular level not only enables network operators to identify communities in need, it provides the necessary guidance for implementing a connectivity solution that will be effective and profitable. Where previous coverage estimates for rural populations in Africa and Asia have the precision of a floodlight, Vanu’s mapping capabilities are laser-focused and let us build the strongest business case for investment in regions that lack telecommunication access. Vanu created VanuMaps in collaboration with the nonprofit human development organization FHI 360, in shared recognition of the critical importance of identifying and connecting communities without coverage.

Here’s how VanuMaps works:

  • Vanu developed a series of proprietary software algorithms that are able to produce maps incorporating coverage, population, terrain, propagation and other factors with a level of precision not previously available to these markets;
  • The coverage begins with existing tower location data of all operators;
  • Using terrain data and propagation models, we generate high resolution coverage predictions of each site;
  • Information from each site is then aggregated to develop a regional view of coverage and its complement, uncovered areas;
  • Population, economic activity, tourism, displaced populations, conflicts, natural resources, and other activity that generates need for telecommunications connectivity can then be layered on top of the coverage model to assess areas of greatest need;
  • Finally, the mapping tool can be used to plan the optimal placement of the new small-cell sites based on the identified areas of need, topographical, terrain and propagation information.

To see some additional mapping images and what they mean, click here.

So, now what?

There are quite a few potential applications for our mapping technology, but we see two near term roles:

  1. VanuMaps can help MNOs and their partners access new revenue streams and
    increase profits, and
  2. We can help businesses that require connectivity identify areas where
    they can (and cannot) operate to focus their business development and expansion efforts.

Using ARPU, market share, penetration rates and usage data, coupled with the operating and capital expense data from Vanu’s ultra-efficient CommunityConnect™ radio access network solution, we can work with MNOs to access revenue and increase profits in unserved markets. Again, mapping tools may not be at the top of everyone’s holiday shopping list, but we’re pretty excited about this new capability and its potential applications. We are providing critical data that was simply inaccessible to this point, and that data can now be used for the betterment of network operators and the communities that need their services. The path forward has never been clearer!

For more information on Vanu and its capabilities, please contact us at info@vanu.com

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