Mid-Tex Cellular Deploys Vanu

Mid-Tex Cellular deploys Vanu's Software Radio software-defined GSM basestations in a trial installation that will run through the end of the year

October 6, 2003

4 Min Read

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and DELEON, Texas -- Vanu, Inc. and Mid-Tex Cellular today announced the successful trial deployment of the world's first all-software GSM basestation system in a commercial cellular network. In a trial installation, which will run through the end of the year, the two companies have successfully integrated innovative Vanu Software Radio(TM) technology into Mid-Tex Cellular's 8,000 square mile 800 MHz network. This trial, the first of its kind, demonstrates the viability of a software defined radio basestation solution and marks a significant milestone in the effort to provide rural cellular operators with a more flexible, cost-efficient wireless network.

Vanu, Inc. has deployed its innovative software radio basestation at Mid-Tex Cellular sites in DeLeon and Gorman, Texas. The network's BTS and BSC are each a Vanu Software Radio application running on Hewlett-Packard ProLiant servers. In addition, an ADC Digivance system and TELOS Sonata SE softswitch have been installed to complete the solution, a configuration that allows Mid-Tex Cellular to field the first end-to-end GSM "soft" network.

Vanu Software Radio offers wireless carriers significant cost savings, while also providing an easier migration path to new standards and services. Based on the portability of the software and its ability to run on industry-standard servers, this flexible solution enables rural providers like Mid-Tex Cellular to test new revenue-generating applications with subscribers, as well as facilitate the carrier's roaming agreements with nationwide operators such as Cingular and AT&T Wireless.

"The trial has exceeded my expectations," stated Toney Prather, CEO of Mid-Tex Cellular. "Not only has the Vanu Software Radio solution worked, but I am now convinced there are significant operational advantages to the system, as well. The overall network flexibility, ease of installation and performance reliability suggest that software radio technology is the wave of the future."

While offering carriers improved flexibility and efficiency in the use of their radio spectrum, software defined radio solutions allow carriers to upgrade to new air interface standards and deploy new revenue-generating services by implementing software upgrades to the network infrastructure, as opposed to overlaying additional network hardware. For rural cellular operators, this is an attractive scenario that allows them to quickly and efficiently upgrade their 2G radio systems to new 3G technologies without assuming the large capital and time-to-market costs typically associated with technology overlays.

Carri Bennet, a partner in Bennet & Bennet, a Washington, DC-based law firm, who introduced Vanu, Inc. and Mid-Tex Cellular, sees a great deal of promise in software radio for rural carriers. "The success of the Mid-Tex trial represents a watershed event for the rural wireless carrier community. In less than one year we went from discussion to development to deployment of a completely new GSM wireless network based on a Vanu Software Radio solution. I believe this technology could have a major and immediate impact on our industry."

In addition to providing rural carriers with a more cost-effective means for deploying new services, the Vanu Software Radio's ability to simultaneously enable multiple technology standards across the network also presents a compelling roaming business model for rural operators. Future wireless networks that will simultaneously support combinations of AMPS, TDMA, GSM/GPRS, EDGE, CDMA and 3G technologies will allow rural carriers to enter into roaming agreements with multiple nationwide operators and support a myriad of circuit-switch, packet and multimedia services.

"We believe the results of our trial with Mid-Tex Cellular validate our software radio approach as a viable alternative to traditional wireless network deployments," said Vanu, Inc. founder and CEO, Dr. Vanu Bose. "We have gained a tremendous amount of momentum these past few weeks and we look forward to working with Mid-Tex, other rural providers and large wireless carriers in the coming months."

The trial, which extends through the end of 2003, is being watched closely by many in the wireless industry. Said Allen Nogee, Principal Analyst at research firm In-Stat/MDR, "The results of the Mid-Tex trial demonstrate that software radio technology is here at last. I consider what Vanu, Inc has achieved in such a relatively short period of time a major accomplishment."

For Mid-Tex Cellular, "the results are tangible," says Prather. "We took a chance on a leading-edge technology, and we are rewarded with the addition of a feature-rich GSM system."

Vanu Inc.

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