Hello Martin and thank you in joining us for this interview today and first we would like to congratulate you on all your recent milestones you have accomplished in 2018 and are excited for what is in store for 2019!
1) Our first question comes from a user by the handle of @shekleswithbud on twitter, they asked; “With much buzz around 5G and the race to deploy the infrastructure required, how specifically does the patent award benefit NuRAN monetarily? And also they would like to know managements forecast for fiscal 2019?”
Very good question. 5G is a hot topic and will continue for the upcoming years. There are so many pieces of the puzzle within 5G. NuRAN’s patent specifically addresses one aspect of 5G solution: the algorithm behind our Massive MIMO technology. It is hard at this moment to quantify the monetary aspect or value of the NuRAN algo, but certainly it is giving us a huge competitive advantage regarding our upcoming multi-standard base station solution we announced late September 2018. Our multi-standard base station solution will provide Mobile Operators with 2G, 3G, 4G as well as 5G capabilities from a single piece of equipment. With NuRAN’s main markets being rural and suburban, the predominant technologies the Company will deploy for its customers in the coming years will be 2G, 3G, and 4G. With our tech, algos and patents, we will also offer the ability for our clients to upgrade to 5G capabilities on the same equipment they have been using for previous network generations - it’s a major cost saver for our clients and affords them the flexibility to move at their own pace.
2) Second question also comes @tru_investor on Twitter, and would like to know whether or not other companies such as Rogers, Telus, Verizon would have to go through NuRAN in order to run their 5G networks?
No Mobile Operator is attached to any single telecom equipment solution provider. That is why in 2019 we are starting to market to the North American telcos with our Multi-Standard solution. We are continuing to push very hard in rural and remote areas, specifically in emerging markets such as Africa but also South Asia and LATAM. In the future, we will be also able to address North American Mobile Operators with competitive 5G solutions.
3) A question we have and a question we believe investors would like to know is, how would you describe your relationship with Facebook?
Our relationship with Facebook is very good! Facebook created the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to address the 3.6 Billion people in the world who are without broadband connectivity. And out of the 3.6 B there are 1.0 Billion people without any cellular coverage at all. People need to remember that at the inception of TIP, only approximately 30 companies were invited as a founding member - NuRAN was one of them. Of the founding members, nobody was addressing rural connectivity problems. Through TIP NuRAN is now pushing the limit by bringing connectivity in places where nobody was contemplating doing it before. The social impact of communications and connectivity is extremely important.
4) An investor from Toronto asks “Can Martin please elaborate to how big the MNE model can be? what do potential deals look like? and what percentage of overall revenue could it eventually be? so the company now has 3 lines of business, Engineering services, equipment vendor and MNE is this accurate?”
Good question. The answer is straightforward: it’s VERY big. NuRAN recently announced the signing of an agreement (conditional to financing by the customer) which provides an idea of the scope of MNE opportunities. Mobile Operators are trying to find the most appropriate way of deploying connectivity as quick and efficient as possible. We realised the intention was there but since most of them were focussing in densely populated urban areas, it was hard to have their full attention for our core market of more rural areas.
Through the MNE Model (Mobile Network Enabler) NuRAN is now offering a complete turnkey solution for Mobile Operators. Operators will have the opportunity to partner with NuRAN where we will facilitate networks rollouts with zero-CAPEX up front. NuRAN lease to own the equipment, install it for clients and provide all offline and online aftermarket support and service - Operators just need to take care of marketing! The MNE model will dramatically change the financials at NuRAN as we will move from one-time sales to recurring monthly revenues with better predictability.
5) The fourth question comes from Daniel and he had this to ask; “Seeing as 5G networks are the future, do you think 3rd world countries still on 3G will skip 4G altogether and jump onto 5G directly?
Good question. In the summer of 2018, GSMA released a complete review of the mobile industry for Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the report, the dominant technology is 2G, not only for voice, sms and data but also mobile payment. In the next few years, 3G will emerge as the dominant technology in the region, accounting for 60% of the Sub-Saharan Africa’s connections by the end of 2025. GSMA Intelligence forecasts the first commercial 5G services to be launched in the region will be in 2021, with 5G connections accounting for only 2.6% of the total connections base by 2025.
The Sub-Saharan African market is huge. With 747 Million SIM Connections projected to grow to 1.0 B SIM Connections by 2025 and 500 Million unique mobile subscribers in 2019 projected to grow to 634 Million in 2025.
According to the same report, 2G and 3G account for 90% of mobile connectivity in 2019 (50% and 40% respectively). By 2025, 2G and 3G will still represent 64% of all mobile connectivity, and 23% for 4G. 5G will be transformative in many areas, but ubiquitous 5G coverage in foreseeable future is unrealistic for many markets.
6) Another question comes from Twitter user by the handle @JervisCapital and they asked; “Apart from this new contract win from Spacecom, will there be other potential clients similar to this in the pipeline this year?”
It is hard for us to answer that type of question since we need to be careful with what we disclose. What I can say is that NuRAN is actively working on other similar opportunities. We are not only talking to Mobile Operators but now also talking to satellite companies and help them build their business, and more subscribers means more satellite backhaul solutions will be needed. So, in that regard, there are vertical partnerships/solutions that are being contemplated in the industry and we believe that the Spacecom deal we signed is just the first of many for the industry and for NuRAN.
From an overall sales perspective, our pipeline of opportunities has increased significantly in the past 6 months and 2019 shall prove to be quite the year!
7) In regards to a previous press release about orders with Africa Mobile Networks, do you have a time frame for the installation of the first 3000 sites from the AMN order?
Without saying too much, again disclosure as a public company has to be respected here, a strategic client and partner such as Africa Mobile Network will need to work closely with service providers to complete milestones for deployment- so we do have a rough idea but can’t really talk about it right here and now However, some of the Tier One operators in the region have already publicly announced they will deploy hundreds of sites by the end of 2019. There is no shortage of work to do here and the NuRAN team is grinding away at it, working closely with our clients and partners to achieve the objective.
8) In your eyes Martin, what is your vision for NuRAN over next 3 years?
Everybody at NuRAN wants to make sure that NuRAN Wireless will be known as THE company with the biggest number of sites and solutions in the field for rural and remote connectivity. Canadian companies have always been very competitive in the mobile and telco industries, although less so lately. It will be great to give some “panache” back to our industry.
We expect to have considerable revenue growth in 2019 and continuous growth in 2020. We have all the proper tools and expertise to achieve our goals.
As we speak, we are a very attractive target.
9) We know the company is hard at work on expanding its operations in Africa, does NuRAN have plans for wireless infrastructure to connect the unconnected in North America and or Asia in the near future?
Good point and absolutely as I previously mentioned. With our upcoming Next-Generation solution announced on September 2018, the multi-standard platform allowing 2G, 3G, 4G and also 5G, we are now starting to knock on the doors of many other Mobile Operators in other geographical areas such as South America and Asia. North America will also be a target, as we would very much like to increase our footprint in our own backyard.
10) It seems business for NuRAN has really picked up and gained a lot of new orders and clients over the past few months. What do you think is the main contributing factor?
Over the past 2-3 years, we were selling the concept and demonstrating for clients that rural connectivity feasible both technically and economically. , Government and Mobile Operators now understand that rural connectivity is not only a matter of social governance or equality but can also be highly lucrative.
To return to a previous question, our close synergy with Facebook was a key factor that helped a lot. They have given credibility to the process, the ideas and the solutions behind all of this.
In the past 6 months, we have seen a complete shift in the mentality and business decisions of all the industry players: MNOs, Tier Ones, satellite operators etc. all want to deploy in rural and remote areas. They understand the financial impact these geographies may have on their business now that the technology to support it is reliable. This is one of the biggest shifts within the industry I have observed in a long time.
11) Lastly, there have been rumours circulating about a private placement at $0.07 cents. Can you shed some light on these rumors?
There is no validity to the rumors and rumors are just that. Rumors. The company has no desire to raise at such a low valuation.
On behalf of everyone at Equity Insight we thank you for taking the time and sitting down with us to answer our questions and those of your investors. We look forward to the growth Nuran Wireless will provide in 2019.
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