Open Source Telecom

The GSM Association (GSMA) ( is an association of mobile operators and related companies devoted to supporting the standardising, deployment and promotion of the GSM mobile telephone system.

Universal service funds (USF) are set up by levies on telecoms in individual countries, which are then used to increase consumer access based on criteria such as income distribution, rural and urban population ratios, literacy and geography.

Universal service funds (USF) set up to improve poor and rural access to mobile services worldwide are “inefficient and ineffective”, according to a recent GSMA report.

More than $11bn (£7.2bn) has yet to be spent, according to the GSMA. “Very few funds, if any, would appear to disburse all that they collect,” it said.

The GSMA report estimates that more than one-third of the 64 funds surveyed have yet to disburse any of the contributions they have collected and less than 12.5% of the funds are meeting their own targets.

This is where Open Source Telecom comes in …

“Fairwaves ( helps mobile operators radically widen subscriber base and boost profitability in low-income regions. With a minimal initial budget, operator could quickly roll-out his network and launch profit-generating services. Fairwaves sells equipment and provide hosted services for mobile operators.

In Fairwaves we believe that communications could be affordable for everyone and mobile networks could be profitable anywhere. We bet on a network of proven partners, the power of open-source and the latest IC technology.”

Below is a link the personal manifesto of Alexander Chemeris, CEO/Founder of Fairwaves:

“I believe that mobile/wireless industry is broken now — it lacks cooperation. Competition is a good thing, but cooperation is no less important. Without cooperation companies throw millions of $$$ to re-implement the wheel instead of implementing what’s important for a customer. And I believe open-source is a great (the only?) way to fix this. Personally, I love open-source exactly for this reason — it improves cooperation and cuts inefficiency. I can’t say how much I hate inefficiency, I can’t stand duplicated efforts which do not lead to innovation.”

Hopefully you now know why I have become so interested in OpenBTS, UmTRX, OsmocomBB etc. over the last few months!