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This device lets you build your own private cell service

The Ukama will allow you to create a cellular network anywhere there's power and internet access.

Published onOctober 6, 2022

ukama on wooden table
  • Ukama is a crowdfunding project that promises to let you create your own decentralized cellular network.
  • The software and hardware are open source.
  • The indoor, outdoor, and DIY models cost $599, $799, and $499 respectively.

While you likely won’t have any signal problems in the city, unfortunately, strong cellular service isn’t something that’s readily available everywhere you go. Ukama wants to solve that by allowing you to create your own cellular data network where you need it.

Back in 2015, the FCC opened up a band of radio spectrum called Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the US for unlicensed users to develop their own private networks. The people working on Ukama have capitalized on this to create a product that will allow you to put up your own decentralized cellular network with no service contracts.

Starting out as a crowdfunding project, the people working on Ukama claim that their product is compatible with all major smartphones and supports all 4G LTE bands. To get it to work, users only need two things: power and internet access. Once setup up, Ukama provides free cellular service that works with other networks and can be expanded as needed.

While using cellular data from inside Ukama’s service range is free, that won’t be the case for roaming. The company states that users who are outside of their service area can get global roaming coverage for $4 per gigabyte in most parts of the EU and $8 in the US.

Ukama will be available in four models including one for indoors, another that you can install outdoors, and a DIY option. The people working on Ukama have made the hardware and software open source so users have full control over their network.

The indoor model is expected to launch for $599, while the outdoor model will be $799, and the DIY model will run you $499. There is also an amplifier unit that can be used with the outdoor model that’s priced at $549. If you’re interested, you can check them out over on Crowd Supply.

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