Baicells, FreedomFi Partner to Certify CBRS Base Stations

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Baicells Technologies, a global telecom manufacturer for LTE and 5G NR hardware solutions, is working with partners FreedomFi and CalChip Connect to certify its lineup of cellular base stations with the FreedomFi Gateway.

Through this partnership Nova 430i, Nova 430, Nova 436Q and Neutrino 430 base stations will become plug-and-play compatible with the FreedomFi Gateway to allow operators to mine Helium Network Tokens (HNT) by offloading cellular data for national telecom carriers. The first device in this lineup will be the outdoor Baicells Nova 430i which will become broadly available for purchase through starting April 1st, 2022.

“We believe Helium has the potential to become the largest decentralized 5G network in the world powered by HNT,” said Frank Mong, COO at Helium. “It is exciting to see prominent radio equipment providers like Baicells partnering with FreedomFi to expand cellular base station options for early deployers of Helium 5G infrastructure.”

Baicells Nova 430i is an outdoor cellular base station with an integrated sector antenna, operating in the CBRS spectrum band. It is capable of providing secure cellular coverage to CBRS-compatible devices at a range of up to two miles, downlink speeds of up to 220Mbps and support for up to 96 simultaneous cellular device connections. The base station is expected to retail at an incredibly low price and will also include 12 months of free access to CBRS spectrum.

“Our vision at Baicells has always been to make cellular infrastructure accessible to everyday consumers,” said Jesse Raasch, VP and CTO at Baicells. “Working with FreedomFi we are delivering a lineup of base stations that people with no experience in LTE or 5G can set up, by simply plugging the radios into FreedomFi Gateway appliances.”

“Baicells is pleased to be working with CalChip Connect and FreedomFi to democratize internet access to the level where consumers will now be able to take part in helping build a decentralized 5G network and begin mining HNT,” said Boun Senekham, Baicells VP of sales. “This is an incredible feat that is only made possible with Baicells effortless ‘plug-and-play’ approach to LTE and 5G and our incredible partners.”

Nova 430i models certified with FreedomFi Gateways will run specialized firmware, different from stock Nova 430i models. Specialized firmware makes the device consumer-deployable with 100% of configuration and post-install certification completed automatically with no need for professional installer presence onsite. Such a high degree of automation is made possible through tight integration with the Magma open source project, hosted by the Linux foundation.

“An average cost to bring up a small cell site in the US today is $36,000, most of which is the cost of labor to complete the setup and configuration,” said Joey Padden, FreedomFi co-founder and CTO. “Through software automation and innovative open source technologies like Magma, we have cut that cost by 10x.

All Baicells base stations being certified for deployment under the partnership are based on the same Qualcomm chipset and are built in Taiwan. Certification further involved a security audit, performed by the Helium 5G offload partners to ensure the products are compliant with all legal and functional FCC requirements to be used for mobile broadband in the US.

“Security and compliance are critical to us as it directly impacts the experience and trust of our customers,” said Sam King, Chief Revenue Officer at GigSky, the first connectivity provider taking advantage of the Helium 5G network. “We appreciate the thorough and transparent approach to this matter practiced by FreedomFi and Baicells.”

FreedomFi is working to build the largest neutral host small cell network in the US, independently operated by owners of real estate assets well-suited for radio deployments.

More than 30,000 people in the US have joined the FreedomFi waitlist to purchase a FreedomFi Gateway and a certified small cell to date. Baicells Nova 430i is the second plug-and-play base station certified with FreedomFi Gateway, following FreedomFi One base station announced in December 2021. Certified versions of Baicells Nova 436Q, Nova 430 and Neutrino 430 are expected to also become available prior to the end of Q2 2022.

Customers can look for “Helium-Network Compatible” stickers on the products and related verbiage to confirm the Baicells base stations can operate within the Helium ecosystem.