NuRAN Wireless Inc. (NUR.CA) is a supplier of mobile and broadband wireless infrastructure solutions. Its innovative radio access network (RAN), core network, and backhaul products dramatically drop the total cost of ownership, thereby creating new opportunities for established, as well as emerging mobile network operator.
According to a study from the GSMA's Mobile Internet Connectivity Fact Sheet, there are more than 3B users worldwide, that are not yet connected to the mobile internet. Of those not connected, 750M are under a coverage gap (grey); these are users that are not living within the footprint of a broadband network.
Sub-Saharan Africa account for 30% (300M) of those with a coverage gap. South Asia (12%), Middle East and North Africa (11%), Latin America and Caribbean (7%) account for the rest. Reaching this segment is traditionally prohibitively expensive for Mobile Operators and this is where a vendors like NuRAN comes in.
The ability to provide Mobile Operators with 2G, 3G, 4G Capabilities from a Single Piece of Equipment along with
providing wireless solutions are also capable of supporting mobile payment transactions is notable. An Accenture report provided an estimate from the world bank (p.7 ) accounting for 345M population in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Listed below is a chronology of its press release in 2019.
Jan. 4 - Announces Proposed Amendment to its Senior Secured Debentures. Offer to holders of its previously issued 12% Senior Secured Convertible Debentures (the “Debentures”) to fix the conversion price of the Debentures at $0.10 per common share from $0.12 cents and remove any adjustment provisions relating to future financings completed at a price lower than the conversion price (the “Debenture Amendment”).
Jan. 8 -Granted United States Patent for its Proprietary 5G Massive MIMO Technology. The NuRAN 5G Massive MIMO Patent was awarded by the USPTO for its efficient and low complexity precoding/detection algorithm that enables an efficient implementation of Massive MIMO technology. The Canadian patent has already been granted.
Massive MIMO is a technology that uses multiple number of antennas, thus the name MIMO for Multiple-Input Multiple-Output. MIMO Network transmit data between numerous devices simultaneously on a same radio channel. It is recognized as a cornerstone component of 5G as the networks using this technology multiply the capacity of a wireless connection without requiring more spectrum.
Jan. 15 - Appoints Industry Veteran Christian de Faria as New Director. Based in Kenya, Mr. de Faria has held key executive positions at multiple leading mobile network operators over the past 25 years, including Group Chief Commercial Officer as well as various Vice President and Senior VP positions at MTN Group, the largest telecom operator of Africa with over 230 Million subscribers in Africa, Europe and Asia. Others include:
-Chairman of Bharti Airtel International , with over 400 Million subscribers across South Asia and Africa.
-CEO and Executive Chairman of Airtel Africa; with over 78 Million subscribers in Africa.
Jan. 17 - Partners with Spacecom’s AMOS-17 Satellite for up to $9M CAD Project in Africa. The trilateral sales agreement is with an undisclosed African Mobile Network Operator (the “MNO” or the “Client”) and Spacecom, operator of the AMOS satellite fleet.
NuRAN will be offering a turnkey solution to the undisclosed MNO under the Mobile Network Enabler (“MNE”) business model which was launched on October 9, 2018. In the conditional trilateral agreement, NuRAN will be supplying the MNO with the mobile infrastructure, installation and managed services. Spacecom will be providing all satellite bandwidth and connectivity aboard their new AMOS-17 communications satellite.
Assuming the MNO can secure financing, the initial order will be for 200 sites, which will result in approximately $9 million CAD in revenue for the Company over a 12 month period. The expected scope of the entire project scale up is for a total of 2,000 or more sites, which could represent upwards of $90 million CAD in revenue. Feasibility of the project is dependent on a variety of outside factors.
Under the MNE model, the Client will be purchasing hardware on a five (5) year lease period (the “Period”) whereby after the Period, the Client may acquire the equipment entirely. During the Period, NuRAN will be responsible for providing everything to sustain the network including, but not limited to: towers, solar cells and batteries.
The Agreement stipulates that NuRAN is to supply the OC-2G, a GSM basestation that is developed by NuRAN, to over 3,000 sites throughout Africa. These AMN purchase orders comprised of over 500 units contributes to the Telecom Infra Project’s OpenCellular, a Facebook (FB:NASDAQ) initiative. The delivery dates for the units are in 2019.
Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) is a group of companies organised with its corporate head office in the UK and subsidiary operating companies in several sub-Saharan African countries. Per October 16, 2018 release, AMN partnered with Intelsat (I:NYSE) to connect ultra-rural sub-Saharan Africa. Intelsat has made a strategic investment in AMN to accelerate the adoption of mobile connectivity in the region and close the digital divide.
Feb. 19 - Present its Multi Standard Platform at MWC 2019 in Barcelona. presenting its first version of the LiteCell xG; its much anticipated multi-standard 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE) base station all within a single unit (launched September 2018).
Mar. 15 - Closes Non-Brokered Private Placement. Issued a total of 11,070,000 units of the Company (“Units”) at a price of $0.10 per Unit with warrant at 0.15 cents for aggregate gross proceeds of $1,107,000.
Mar. 25 - Reports First Quarter 2019 Financial Results.
Mar. 26 - Leading Industry Expert Babak Fouladi Joins NuRAN Wireless Board of Directors. Mr. Fouladi is currently the Chief Technology and Digital Officer for KPN, a Netherlands based landline and mobile telco. Previously was Chief Technology and Information Systems Officer at MTN until December 2018.
Apr. 4 -Recurring Revenue Orders of Over CAD $500K - These sales are related to NuRAN’s rural connectivity solutions as well as Nutaq Innovations, NuRAN’s wholly owned engineering services subsidiary.
Apr. 24 - Announces Change in Management: Appointment of Maxime Dumas as new President and CEO.
May 15 - Announces Imminent Contract of $4M CAD; Provides Corporate Update. NuRAN has been confirmed by a mobile network operator (“MNO”) as being the supplier of mobile infrastructure for a small network expansion. While the business cannot be officially confirmed at this time, all technical and commercial aspects have been addressed, with only the contractual agreement remaining pending.
The contract is valued at over $4M CAD, and is expected to be executed within 12 months of signature. Through this contract, NuRAN will supply its award-winning mobile infrastructure solutions specifically built to bring mobile and broadband connectivity to emerging and isolated markets.
AMOS: $9M project with Spacecom’s AMOS-17; project is conditional to the mobile operator obtaining its financing. Management is confident that project will be awarded. MNE: Mobile Network Enabler (“MNE”) model is moving forward. In discussion with Large MNO on significant business opportunities. GSSC: Global scale satellite constellations announcements; Most of the low-earth-orbit (“LEO”) satellite constellation programs that have been announced in the past few years are aimed at bringing “backhaul” connectivity, not “access” connectivity. In other words, the satellites will not communicate directly with people’s handsets or terminals. NuRAN is working on a large number of opportunities. Proposals have already been submitted and are pending selection and/or negotiation.
Jul. 31 - Confirms 5G Capability. With its wholly-owned subsidiary Nutaq Innovation, confirms equipment capability.
Aug. 22 - Closes Oversubscribed Non-Brokered Private Placement. Aggregate gross proceeds of CAD $533,265. Issued a total of 10,665,303 common shares at a price of $0.05 per Unit, and 10,636,732 warrants entitling the holder to acquire one additional Share at a price of $0.07 per Share for a period of 36 months from closing. Insider participated (14%).
Sep. 30 - NuRAN and Intelsat Expand and Enhance Mobile Connectivity Services to the Marshall Islands. This network expansion is powered by NuRAN’s award-winning mobile infrastructure solutions specifically built to bring mobile and broadband connectivity to remote and geographically isolated regions. NuRAN will deliver and install complete cellular sites, enabling mobile broadband using LiteRAN xG, NuRAN’s evolutive 2G-3G-4G multi-standard radio access network solution and NuRAN’s Nexus core network solution.
Sep. 30 - Signs $4.75M Contract for LiteRAN 2G, LiteRAN xG, and Nexus Core Network. Through this contract, NuRAN Wireless will deliver and install complete satellite-backhauled cellular sites including tower and solar power for enhanced mobile connectivity services to remote islands in the Pacific Ocean region.
NuRAN will bring mobile and broadband capability to the client through its LiteRAN 2G, LiteRAN xG, and Nexus core network. The announcement follows the previous announcement made on May 15, 2019. The closing of the contract took longer than expected due to a revision of the scope to include additional sites which increased the total contractual value from $4M to $4.75M.
Sep. 30 - Reports Third Quarter 2019 Financial Results. Revenue of $351,435; Net Loss Before Other Elements and Income Taxes of $898,210. The decrease in revenue for the quarter results from the more prominent shift the Company has taken to focus its sales & marketing efforts towards NuRAN’s mobile and broadband infrastructure revenue source. Management expects the shift of focus to yield significant business for the coming future and offset this past period decrease. Delays in closing expected business also contributed to lower revenues during the quarter.
“NuRAN has positioned itself strategically with key players, many of which have still not been the subject of any public announcement. Management expects these alliances to result in significant contract wins for the coming periods”.
-Maxime Dumas, President & CEO of NuRAN Wireless.
Nov. 12 - NuRAN & Raeanna Join Forces to Expand Mobile Connectivity in Africa. In today’s announcement by MTN Group, NuRAN was mentioned as partner for MTN’s rural expansion project, whose projections are to deploy more than 5,000 sites by end of 2020 across Africa, bringing 2G, 3G, and 4G connectivity to all rural communities.
“NuRAN’s radio access solutions have helped us achieve a much faster and better return on investment, compared to using the solutions from traditional vendors. This has been achieved while still providing the high grade of service that is expected by Mobile Network Operators, both of which are key factors in operating a successful wholesale network operator business”
-Tunji Alabi, Executive Director for Raeanna.
Nov. 14 - NuRAN Winner of GSMA Connected Society Innovation Grant. Awarded grant of up to £330,000 to test and evaluate new innovative mobile internet connectivity solutions for unconnected rural communities in Africa.
The fund will be allocated in partnership with Vodafone Ghana and is set to run for approximately 18 months. A total number of 7 new greenfield sites will pilot innovative solutions of the Company to deploy mobile broadband networks in rural areas, that will provide low-cost mobile internet coverage through commercially sustainable models, that can be scaled and replicated in similar environments across the region.
NuRAN has teamed up with industry leaders for the pilot project, selected Clear Blue Technologies for solar power system, Redline Communications for terrestrial backhaul links, engineering for the tower, site installation and site maintenance.
Dec. 12 - NuRAN Announces 2019 AGM Voting Results.
In the past year, NuRAN appointed two strong board members (Chris DeFaria and Babak Fouladi). In addition, it made announcements with a number of partners including Spacecom Amos-17 satellite, an undisclosed African Mobile Network Operator ($9M, Jan 17 2019), Africa Mobile Networks; AMN ($1.25M, Feb 4, 2019), and an undisclosed South Pacific Operator ($4M, Sep 30, 2019). In addition, it disclosed relationship with IntelSat, and Raeanna.
NuRAN recently received a GSMA Innovation Grant (Nov. 14). The timing of this grant is interesting since it occurred after a GSM webinar titled: Closing the Coverage Gap: How Innovation Can Drive Rural Connectivity. Moreover, the funds for this grant (up to £330,000, or CAD $0.563M) are to be allocated with Vodafone Ghana.
However, earning revenues have been declining for the past three quarters which explains current valuation.
Q3 Earning release attributed this decline due to "a more prominent shift the Company has taken to focus its sales & marketing efforts towards NuRAN’s mobile and broadband infrastructure revenue source". As a result, NuRAN completed two private placement in 2019, one for $1,1M at $0.10 cents; warrant at $0.15 cents (March 15, 2019) and another for $0.53M at $0.05 cents; warrants at 0.07 cents with insider participation. (August 22, 2019).
The possibility for more financing is there but the company reported in their last MD&A: "a strong sales pipeline of over 50 opportunities totaling over CAD $200 million of possible revenue". Out of these, an involvement with MTN and Facebook of which NuRAN is one of the 4 ran vendors as presented by Babak Faouladi in 2018.
At a recent panel from the Council of Foreign Relations : Connecting the World: The Internet's Next Billion, both representative from Google and Facebook attended and spoke to the importance of the mobile internet. Also discussed (20:10) was the African Moonshot Program and its aggressive targets by 2030.
For perspective, the funds needed to double broadband penetration by 2021 are $9B, with $4.5B for Mobile Infrastructure CapEx, $0.5B for Network Backhaul, and $2B for Network Operations and Maintenance.
Hence, we believe that NuRAN Wireless is well positioned to close this coverage gap.
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