Israel-based start-up Trans Con Mobile this week announced that it has developed, built and tested the infrastructure and handsets for a wireless voice-over-IP (VoIP) system that will let operators establish “cellular-like” networks in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band.

Utilizing patent-pending technology tested in Israel, Trans Con Mobile’s Wi-Fi based network features base stations with a special antenna, proprietary software and handsets with strong reception qualities to deliver signals 1.4-1.6 miles in open areas. Trans Con Mobile also uses higher power outputs than typical Wi-Fi networks, but the power levels remain within FCC guidelines.

“The transmission power and the reception sensitivity are dramatically higher than what is common in Wi-Fi phones that you can find on the market today,” Trans Con Mobile Director Haim Yashar said.

Trans Con Mobile Chairman Avi Shani said the company’s software handles handoffs in a manner that meets current industry standards—“it is seamless; the subscriber won’t feel a thing”—even when traveling a speeds of more 80 miles per hour.

Although the base-station footprint is more similar to a cellular solution than a typical wide-area Wi-Fi network, the price points for entering the market via a Trans Con Mobile system are dramatically less than the cellular model, Shani said.

“It’s much easier to build, much quicker to build and much cheaper to build—there’s no need to buy spectrum and no preparation for the tender, which will cost each company about $20-25 million in paperwork,” Shani said in an interview with MRT.

Indeed, compared to the $350,000 pricetag typically associated with a GSM or CDMA base station and power generator, the cost of a similar functioning Trans Con Mobile base station is a “very, very small amount of money—it’s almost a joke,” Shani said. “And we are still reducing the price; we are finding components that reduce the price.”

Similarly, the Trans Con Mobile handsets will be “much, much cheaper” to build than cellular phones, Shani said. From a technological standpoint, the Trans Con Mobile devices will be technologically superior to those on the market today, he said.

“It’s like comparing a 15th-century vessel to a 21st-century vessel,” Shani said. “Just to give you an example, the battery power on a regular WiFi phone lasts a maximum of 30 minutes and then you have to recharge—and the distance is 30 feet. Our battery power lasts 6 hours talk time and 120 hours standby. And we achieved it through software, not a special battery. It’s obviously a bigger battery, but you don’t see it on the handset, because we wanted to keep the handset the same size as a regular cellular phone.”

Currently seeking investors, Trans Con Mobile has completed production design for its base stations and the design of the handsets—the company has used prototypes for testing—is being finalized, Shani said.

Trans Con Mobile’s first-generation system will provide only VoIP service, but the company already is working on a next-generation system that will include data and e-mail features. Those phones also will be dual-band devices, so users can access a GSM network where WiFi is not available.

Shani said Trans Con Mobile initially will target early adopters—such as students—but plans to pursue the enterprise market, as well.