A flat-pack furniture approach to building private mobile networks

Startup Stories

Tell us about your start up
Poutanet is the forerunner of small consumerized private mobile networks. We have our roots in the Nokia Kuha project where we turned an LTE small cell base station into a consumer product. After founding Poutanet 2020 we have taken that approach to the next level and turned the whole LTE network into a solution that can be easily deployed and operated by non telco people. Today we are a clear leader in temporary networks powering commerce at festivals in Finland and in Western Europe.

At MWS the Cumucore-Poutanet-Helppari Point-of-sales solution was recently listed as one of the best mobile innovations for connected economy.

What is your USP?
4G and 5G solutions that can be set up in minutes instead of months and cost a fraction of what it takes to run a traditional telco project are game changers that allow regular IT players to build on connectivity that looks like Wifi on steroids – without the cumbersome hassle with numerous access points. The local core and Sunshine (no cloud) OSS allow operation without or with an intermittent Internet connection. This makes the Poutanet solution optimal for digitalization projects in developing economies and for enterprises with strict security policies.

Poutanet likes also to work with hub partners that add their vertical know-how and applications to bring complete solutions to the market.

What is your relationship with the telecom sector?
Poutanet is focused on private mobile networks. So, we have a vested interest in making spectrum available to players beyond the traditional telcos and in opposing network whitelisting by device manufacturers as well as other obstacles for network innovation.

Poutanet together with its partners is actively working for accelerating the liberalization of the telecom regulations – especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. We believe Social ISPs using the 3GPP ecosystem for providing Internet access and local data services are key for providing Internet access for the the next billion people.

Poutanet is also an active contributor to industry standardization and consortia. We’ve co-innovated to IEEE social ISP concept and recently were invited to join Oulu university led Eware 6G project shaping the future energy aware 6G networks

How have you got to your current stage of development?
The initial well motivated request for simplifying the way mobile networks are built we got from a social media company in 2015. The requirements and obstacles for community hosted networks we learned at Nokia the hard way. After field trials, RAN-core integration projects and the discovery that infrastructure running in the cloud may become quite complex we moved to a model where a fully local core is the heart of every deployment.

Until the company has been bootstrapped and works together with a number of small partners. External funding for accelerating R&D as well as reaching out to new markets has been considered and we are always open for discussions.

Why did you establish the business?
When Nokia decided not to continue working on community hosted network, we felt that a startup should. Consequently, we founded Poutanet.

Who inspired you?
When we started Poutanet, close to four billion people were not connected to the Internet. When schools were closed in Namibia because of the pandemic, only 2% of the students were able to participate in remote learning. When some of our clients were working on private LTE projects, the price tags had five figure Euro amounts. There was clearly work to be done.

What does the future hold for your business?
Telco liberalization, ICT decentralization and the need to provide connectivity for supporting digitalization are unstoppable global trends that pave the way for Poutanet growth.

Instead of becoming yet another massive telco vendor Poutanet focuses on growing its global hub partner ecosystem as well as solution development and marketing. We are looking to partner with best of the breed digitalization experts to jointly help connect the world and support industries in upgrading their capabilities.

You can meet Poutanet in the Startup Village at Total Telecom Congress – find out more here

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