Solving the Challenge of Rural Cell Phone Coverage

CoverageCo, a subsidiary of Vanu Inc, is a company dedicated to solving the challenge of rural cell phone coverage.

We have designed a small cell service distribution device that can be mounted on a utility pole or building and can deliver service to a phone with any carrier. The radios use minimal electricity (the same amount as a 60-watt bulb) and can provide cell service through any broadband connection. By providing service for many carriers at once, the CoverageCo approach allows for cell service to reach rural areas without building massive cell towers. Because of our collaborative service to multiple carriers, we can do so at a cost that allows for deployment in more sparsely populated areas.

In 2014, CoverageCo and the State of Vermont entered into a joint partnership to pilot the technology. We currently have radios up in 145 locations and are in the process of adding additional coverage. The partnership has been an excellent one as we have learned together what works and how to strengthen the model. Together we have brought cell service to thousands of Vermonters and, perhaps more importantly, we have delivered mobile 911 service to parts of the state that previously had no access to emergency service for travelers.

CoverageCo locations provide complete service to T-Mobile customers. CoverageCo locations provide complete service to post-paid Sprint customers, limited voice-only service to prepaid Sprint customers, and voice-only service to Verizon and US Cellular customers. Verizon customers with the new HTC U11 smart phone, LG Exalt LTE phone, and data cards that do not support voice service can receive data services.

To date, AT&T has chosen not to allow their customers to use the CoverageCo service. Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) like TracFone, Republic, AARP, etc. generally cannot utilize the CoverageCo network due to their arrangements with their host carriers.

We are excited to continue working with the state and with local communities to provide more cell service and access to 911 service to rural communities.