A Last-Ditch Attempt to Start a 5th U.S. Telecom: Social Capital’s Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive, said on Tuesday that he intends to build an American mobile carrier called Rama. It’s good timing—the window for building a fifth major American telecom is closing, and soon, it may not be possible anymore.
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Even if Rama ends up winning the spectrum it needs, it faces an uphill
battle. First, the company will have to start the slow and expensive
process of actually building the towers and infrastructure that make up a
wireless network. Palihapitiya said he wants to use “microcells,” or
tiny cell towers installed on people’s homes, to help build the network
quickly and provide better coverage. (Emphasis added)
The apparent strategy here is to use telco and cableco residential landline to backhaul the microcells. That of course will generate strong resistance from the large incumbent telcos and cablecos that also play or want to play in the mobile wireless space and prompt them to put restrictions in their residential service contracts disallowing the use of premise Internet service to support commercial mobile networks.