Our Grant Program

OpenCellular Grants (OCG) is a program to fund, promote and accelerate the non-commercial development and non-traditional deployment of OpenCellular (OC) in rural areas where access to cellular is limited due to availability of service,  price of service or limited consumer demand.  The successful development and adoption of OC as a way to connect rural communities could lead to significantly more people getting access to cellular. The OCG grant program is specifically designed to address that opportunity.

Please submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) here. LOIs received by December 31st, 2018 will be considered for the next round of grants to be announced by March 2019.

Submit Full Proposal

OCGrant Wave One Awardees

July 2018

The OpenCellular Grants Program is pleased to announce 11 “Wave One” grant awardees in our first selection round. All selected projects will receive OC units as well as financial support for their projects.

Representing projects around the world, these 11 awardees are supporting the OC mission of rural connectivity by making advances in one or more of the following categories:

    • developing of hardware, software and testing frameworks
    • manufacturing equipment for small scale production
    • connecting rural communities
    • empowering/building capacity/knowledge

Congrats to our OCGrant Awardees

AIT OpenCellular Training Center,  Thailand
Project Affiliation and Contact:
Asian Institute of Technology, Attaphongse Taparugssanagorn

srsENB for OpenCellular, Barcelona, Spain
Project Affiliation and Contact:
Software Radio Systems, Ismael Gomez

Pamoja Net, digital connectivity for remote communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Project Affiliation and Contact:
Ensemble pour la Difference, Euan Millar

Pearl Cel Community Network, Nicaragua
Project Affiliation and Contact:
SayCel, Edwin Reed-Sanchez

Colnodo – Community Networks as Social Programs, Colombia
Project Affiliation and Contact:
Colnodo, Júlian Casasbuenas

FHI 360 /Nigerian Humanitarian Connectivity Project, Nigeria
Project Affiliation and Contact:
FHI 360, Troy Etulain

GrilloEarthquake Early Warning and Cell Connectivity to Remote Communities in Latin America, Mexico
Project Affiliation and Contact:
Grillo, Andres Meira

OpenCellular for Brazilian Amazon Communities (OBAc), Brazil
Project Affiliation and Contact:
UFPA and LASSE, Aldebaro Barreto da Rocha Klautau Junior

A New Approach to Provide High Connectivity Data to Rural Communities, Mozambique
Project Affiliation and Contact
Universal Access Fund 2020, Salomão David Cumbula

iNethi: Enabling Cellular-based Community Wireless for Local Content and Services, South Africa
Project Affiliation and Contact:
Univ. of Cape Town UCT Centre in ICT for Development, Dr. Melissa Densmore

Osmo-trx-cavium – Fairwaves, Massachusetts, USA
Project Affiliation and Contact:
Fairwaves, Alexander Chemeris

Want to become a future OCGrant Recipient?

Apply now for an OCGrant Letter of Interest  Full Proposal


The majority of awarded OCGs will be between $10,000 to $25,000 USD, however a small number of larger grants may be awarded to support more complex projects.

Expectations of all Grantees:

  • Meet grant selection criteria
  • Contribute back to OC processes
  • Share technology (HW, SW, apps) with the greater OC community
  • Communicate impact with solid deliverables at regular intervals
  • Be prepared to fund/resource all aspects of pilot not supported by OC Grant
  • Educational awardees will be encouraged to submit papers to academic peer-review journals as well as research papers to conferences.

The Project Group

OpenCellular is a project within  Telecom Infra Project (TIP). The goal of OpenCellular is to provide contributed wireless solutions supporting rural access. OpenCellular Grant Program (OCG) is an initiative designed to foster a healthy community/ecosystem comprised of technology partners, research labs, community operators, NGOs, and educational institutions. The group focuses on the development of creative and non-traditional models for the development, manufacturing, and non-commercial deployment of OpenCellular systems (2G, LTE, Power) to rural areas.

Each grantee partner will contribute back to the OpenCellular project while showing the impact with solid deliverables. As a contributed initiative, all deliverables and learnings will be available publicly via the project group website.

The grants given by OCG will advance the OpenCellular ecosystem in four categories:

  • Developing of hardware, software and testing framework development efforts (examples include supporting new bands, porting existing firmware to use a new RTOS, building new power management schemes, software toolchains, adding support to an existing open-source NMS system, and develop testing equipment)

  • Manufacturing equipment based on OC designs to small-scale production preferably at the local level (examples include developing methods of production testing infrastructure, supply chain advancements, distribution and tooling)

  • Connecting rural communities via community networks and other deployment models (examples include greenfield community-led deployments, enhancing systems for first-responder and conservation related efforts using IoT)

  • Empowering and building capacity and knowledge transfer and advance ecosystem (examples include using lab kits for undergrad/grad courses at reputable universities, creating training materials and new models for local maintenance)

Who can apply for an OCG grant?

Letters of Interest for the OpenCellular grant program can be submitted by public or private sector organizations, community operators, university or research/development institutions, governments and non-government organizations for selection committee consideration. Applicants exemplifying non-traditional deployment or business models are highly encouraged to apply.

What’s included in the Grant?

Grants, which can include non-recurring engineering, OC system(s) and other assistance; will be awarded on a quarterly basis.

The majority of awarded OCGs will be between $10,000 to $25,000 USD, however a small number of larger grants may be awarded to support more complex projects.

How to apply?

Grants will be awarded via a 2-step process.  

All applicants are asked to fill out a Letter of Interest  (LOI), available on this website. After a review of the LOI by the OCGrant selection committee, applicants may be asked to submit a full proposal for consideration. On occasion, a phone follow-up might be requested. Proposals will be reviewed and scored by the OC selection committee members, on a rolling basis, against selection criteria, and awards will be announced 2-3 times a year. To be considered for the Wave Two round of grants to be announced by March 2019, please have your LOI in by December 31st, 2018

Submit Full Proposal

What are the General Selection Criteria for OCG’s?

  • The proposing entity has to be a Telecom Infra Project and OpenCellular member in good standing.

  • Project proposals must be aligned with the Telecom Infra Project’s values and principles and should address at least one of the four OCG categories (Developing, Manufacturing, Connecting, Empowering).  The proposal must demonstrate a clear benefit for and engagement with the community, according to the category selected.

  • The proposal must state clear and realistic objectives and provide a well-structured technology overview.

  • The applicant must have the capacity to manage OCGs (in-kind and funds), conduct project activities and document outcomes effectively within the specified budget and time limits (typically a maximum of 12-16 months)

  • Where possible, the applicant may be required to submit to a background check

  • The applicant must provide documentation of impact and knowledge sharing through writings, videos, and other communication materials to the OC community.

  • The Chapter and/or project leader(s) must agree to share the knowledge, experience and outcomes with the OpenCellular community at large.

  • The project may not be a commercial endeavor subject to taxation.

  • Grants will not be made to cover individual research such as PhD thesis or dissertations.

Specific requirements for larger grants >$25,000 USD

  • Project proposals must demonstrate the ability of the applicant to effectively manage a project and the related activities including: budget, timeline, outcomes, step-backs, monitoring, reporting, etc.

  • The project proposal should demonstrate collaboration with local entities.  To demonstrate this engagement, it is recommended that a support letter from the local entity be provided as part of the application.

  • Project management costs shall not exceed 15% of the total project funding amount.  Applicants are required to carefully evaluate project costs and provide a complete and accurate budget on how the funds will be allocated.

In addition, for Connect Grants:

  • Must have a plan to comply with all local regulations, in particular with regard to the use of licensed spectrum.

  • Must have a sustainability plan for any field deployments.