Are there going to be lower-priced options in the 900MHz variant like there are in other bands? The only option I see right now is the wide-open non-throughput-limited version with a $300 price tag. (plus $90 antenna, plus assorted bits and bobs to install leading us to ~$500 per customer to upgrade existing PMP100 installs)
We have about 900 customers on our network on PMP100 900MHz. We'd really like to upgrade to the PMP450 900MHz to 'modernize' the sector capacity... But many of those customers pay ~$30 a month for low-throughput plans. We'll go out of business if we have to upgrade everybody to PMP450 900MHz SMs at $500 a pop unless we double our prices, at which point we'd lose many of those customers to cellular and satellite.
Between APs, SMs, and paying installers, we're looking at about $1 million. And that's just not going to happen.
Hmmm... maybe check around with your prices? I'm seeing quite a bit lower pricing just from Winncom. Historically the PMP100 900MHz gear was more expensive than PMP100 for other bands, part of which was the additional cost of the antennas. This new PMP450 900MHz gear is coming out of the gate at substantially lower pricing than current PMP100 900MHz pricing. Additionally, the PMP450 900MHz unlocked SM is quite a bit CHEAPER than any other PMP450 band's unlocked/connectorized SM. That being said... I'm pleasantly surprised at the pricing and it's lower than I had expected.
If I were you, I'd approach every customer and say something like this... "Hey everyone! This old technology has served us well, but it has run it's course... we have to deploy new equipment. It's going to cost us a bunch of money... BUT in the end, your service will be much better/faster. We're asking everyone to give $100 to upgrade to the new equipment... in exchange, we'll come out and give you a brand new radio and antenna. As a thank you, we'll let you stay on your current monthly rate of $30 and give you TWICE the speed for 6 months. After six months, if you wish to keep the faster service, your monthly will go up to $40 (or whatever)."
We've done this kind of thing before and it works really well... most people see the value in throwing down a little bit of money every few years for new equipment, and they like the temporary speed bump, and then most of them will keep the faster, slightly more expensive service after the trial. You just have to be creative ;-)
I'm with Eric here. Check around. MBSI-Wav has done us well. The pricing is much less than I expected for the new hardware. And for the money we've brought in on monthly services over the years since the PMP100 stuff was installed, it's time we do some upgrades for these hard to reach customers.
I've ordered 6 AP's and 35 SM's to test out. If they work as well as they say, we will be adding another 20 AP's and 200+ SM's right away.