"That's, to some extent, a good thing for small guys, because they may be more willing to take risks," Jarich said. But it will be hard for Range to sell them on open-source software that's been proved out in Antarctica or Mexico, he said. "Trying to convince new folks to move into this space is going to be a tough sell."
Using standard hardware and fewer boxes can save money, but rural carriers also face higher costs for other components, such as linking remote base stations, Phil Marshall of Tolaga Research said.
"The big thing with rural is the backhaul and other issues," Marshall said. "It helps, but it's not a silver bullet.
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