Introducing Microtelecom

VNL coined the term “microtelecom” to describe the market we are pioneering. Microtelecom is the optimization of telecom infrastructure for a very specific application: serving low-income, hard-to-reach communities in rural areas.

Like microfinance, microtelecom is based on the belief that “bottom of the pyramid” consumers can be profitably served — as long as the product or service is designed appropriately.

Microtelecom refers to technology and business models designed from the ground up for low-income rural users, not just adapted from solutions for the developed world.

It is characterised by four principles:

■ Low cost — Dramatic reductions in capital expense and running costs compared with the mainstream technology
■ Low power — Ideally completely independent of an unreliable power grid
■ Ease of deployment — Removing the dependence on a skilled or literate workforce
■ Modeled for purpose — using business models that take into account local resources and limitations

By following these principles, microtelecom drives down the threshold of viability for mobile operators looking to profitably serve low-ARPU users.

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