Altobridge makes it cheaper to provide mobile coverage to communities in emerging countries, from an African village to a remote oil drilling site. The company just closed a $12 million third round of funding with Intel Capital and the International Finance Corporation (an offshoot of the World Bank).
The most expensive part of making a mobile call from a remote area is generally the backhaul, i.e. the connection between the local mobile base station and the mobile carrier’s central core network. Backhaul is often done over an expensive satellite connection. Altobridge’s Data-at-the-Edge technology reduces the backhaul requirements by at least 50 percent by providing more functionality locally, especially when the call is being placed to someone else in the local network.
Reducing backhaul communications can also ease data congestion, which can become a problem in high growth, emerging markets. The new investment will be used to scale up the business and develop the technology to further reduce backhaul costs. Altobridge also recently demonstrated a low-cost mobile broadband solution.
Altobridge’s main markets are emerging countries, in particular in Africa and Asia. A mobile base station was traditionally an expensive piece of kit. Altobridge base stations often run in remote areas that have no access to power. As a result, the company also offers a cheap, solar-powered base station that can be carried on the back of a truck to the target location. The Altobridge lite-site install has lower power consumption than other products and can serve 100 to 1,500 people.
The company’s main competitors are traditional wireless network vendors such as Huawei, some of which also license Altobridge’s technology.
Altobridge was founded in 2002 and employs 130 people globally at its headquarters in Kerry, Ireland and in Malaysia, Indonesia, China and the US. The company has previously received funding from Enterprise Ireland and various private investors.