CommScope is to acquire Airvana LP, which provides 4G LTE and 3G small cell solutions for wireless networks. The move will add indoor cellular small cell technology to CommScope’s existing distributed antenna system (DAS) portfolio providing it with a full range of indoor coverage options for customers.
The company, which provides connectivity and essential infrastructure solutions for communications networks, has been on the acquisition trail this year having recently completed a deal to take over rival US firm TE Connectivity’s Broadband Network Solutions unit.
The requirement for better indoor cellular coverage is an increasingly important market opportunity now as workforces become more mobile and more reliant on wireless technology. Most mobile data is transmitted inside buildings, so the need to improve indoor cellular coverage in a cost effective way is boosting the opportunity for small cells.
CommScope said the combination of Airvana’s small cell offerings and CommScope’s (DAS) portfolio will enable CommScope to provide a broader range of solutions, addressing single-operator, single-band, low capacity environments all the way through multi-carrier, multi-technology, multi-band, high capacity environments.
Richard Lowe, Airvana’s president and chief executive officer; Vedat Eyuboglu, Airvana’s co-founder and chief technology officer; and Airvana’s existing employees, most of whom are based at its headquarters in Chelmsford, Massachusetts and Bangalore, India, will join CommScope. The acquired business will continue to be headquartered in Chelmsford and will operate within CommScope’s Wireless segment upon completion of the acquisition.
Since its founding in 2000, Airvana has played a key role in enabling the use of mobile devices for data access. The company began small cell development to complement its macro cell mobile broadband infrastructure products and today focuses exclusively on small cells. Airvana has shipped 1.5 million small cells and supports one of the largest small cell networks in the world.
“Airvana has differentiated itself in the emerging indoor small cell market through its unique product architecture and innovation,” said Morgan Kurk, senior vice president and Wireless segment leader, CommScope. “With a 15-year track record of delivering mobile broadband infrastructure products that meet the requirements of Tier 1 operators, Airvana’s carrier-grade embedded software development capabilities are impressive and complementary to CommScope.
“As the wireless industry evolves toward Cloud RAN, we believe that CommScope’s ION-E solution and Airvana’s OneCell Cloud RAN small cell system together will comprise a full range of highly flexible, cost-effective solutions that address all the indoor wireless challenges customers face. I look forward to welcoming Airvana to CommScope and working with its talented team to provide the wireless solutions needed for today and into the future,” said Kurk.
“Our breakthrough Cloud RAN small cell architecture represents a dramatic advance in wireless performance, capacity and deployment economics,” said Airvana’s Eyuboglu. “With CommScope, we will be perfectly positioned to realise its full potential.”
“We look forward to pairing our expertise in small cells with CommScope’s broad portfolio and global presence,” said Lowe. “Combining our capabilities will create an extensive set of indoor wireless solutions to meet the evolving needs of our customers.
“Moreover, we believe CommScope’s global marketing, distribution and support capabilities will enable us to rapidly grow the business for our small cell products. CommScope's intent to remain a leader in small cells through technology innovation and their commitment to their workforce makes it an excellent home for the Airvana business.”
Airvana’s 4G small cell product portfolio includes OneCell, the world’s first Cloud RAN small cell system, targeted for enterprise and public venue LTE deployments. OneCell has won multiple technology awards, including the Outstanding Overall Mobile Technology award at Mobile World Congress 2015.
Airvana also introduced recently the S1000 Small Cell for small and medium businesses, and is a finalist for the Emerging Technology Award at CTIA Super Mobility 2015 9-11 September in Las Vegas.
Both small cell solutions are managed via the Airvana Device Management System, a comprehensive, highly scalable small cell management system that enables plug-and-play provisioning of small cells, self-organising networks (SON) and performance monitoring.
The acquisition, which is structured as a purchase of substantially all of Airvana’s assets, is expected to be completed within the next 60 days. CommScope intends to fund the acquisition with cash on hand. Additional terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
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