Helium said its new partnership with FreedomFi could expand 5G coverage.

April 27, 2021

3 Min Read

SAN FRANCISCO – FreedomFi, the open 5G company, and Helium, a pioneer in decentralized wireless networks, today announced a partnership that will help mobile network operators (MNOs) accelerate their 5G Coverage using FreedomFi Gateways, a consumer-deployed connectivity device that pairs with 5G antennas.

The new FreedomFi Gateways were designed to interoperate with the Helium Network, which enables gateway hosts to mine HNT, the native cryptocurrency of the Helium Network, by providing 5G cellular coverage. FreedomFi Gateways are available for pre-order effective immediately and are expected to ship in the third quarter of 2021. Additional information and pre-orders are available at www.freedomfi.com/Helium5G.

"This exciting news by Helium and FreedomFi highlights a great new path to utilize CBRS and delivers on the promise of innovation and creativity always envisioned out of the band," said former FCC Commissioner, Michael O'Rielly. "Turning consumer gateways into network distribution tools and merging with ultra-hot cryptocurrency — consistent with the companies' plans — may just be the step needed to help supercharge private 5G deployment. Now we get to see if the market agrees!"

"FreedomFi Gateways are the perfect way to augment the existing capacity of macro-cell tower operators. We're able to use CBRS small cells in urban areas to rapidly add density to the network at no expense to the operators. Our consumer-first approach is an exciting telecom innovation. We are already in talks with several mobile network operators (MNOs) and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) about using the Helium Network and the coverage created by FreedomFi Gateways to augment their 5G footprint in the United States," said Boris Renski, CEO at FreedomFi. "Many operators have been offloading their cell towers into consumer-deployed Wi-Fi access points in a pattern referred to as Carrier Wi-Fi. We are extending this trend to 5G small cells and innovating on how operators get compensated for maintaining cellular infrastructure."

FreedomFi Gateways will run a combination of Magma open source 5G software and the open source Helium blockchain in a single device, making it possible for hosts to receive a direct economic stake in the 5G networks they power. The network will utilize CBRS spectrum band that has been made available by the FCC in January of 2020. Helium's unique reward structure paired with accessible, inexpensive CBRS small cells create a powerful mechanism for consumers and businesses alike to accelerate 5G coverage.

"The People's Network is now opening up 5G to everyone," said Amir Haleem, Helium CEO and co-founder. "FreedomFi's approach to deploying 5G networks, based on open source and CBRS shared spectrum, makes it an order of magnitude less expensive and easier to install a 5G access point than traditional cell towers. Using a blockchain-based incentive model, FreedomFi and Helium are pioneering an entirely new way to deploy 5G networks."

The new 5G network will roll out to select cities in the U.S. throughout the course of 2021. It is expected to expand into other countries and cover a variety of spectrum bands in the following years.


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