Ericsson to acquire North American carrier grade Wi-Fi company BelAir Networks

Rating: More hope for bloated mobile networks

Ericsson plans to acquire 100% of the shares in the privately-held Canadian Wi-Fi company BelAir Networks. Once completed, Ericsson will acquire a carrier grade Wi-Fi portfolio, technological expertise, IPR, and established customer contracts and relationships.

Ericsson believes the demand for Wi-Fi technology in mobile networks will continue to grow, brought on by the growth of mobile broadband as well as the increase in cloud-based services and other high data-consuming functions and features. To meet this growing demand, Ericsson launched its Network Integrated Wi-Fi solution in September 2011.

The combination of Ericsson’s mobile infrastructure technology leadership and BelAir Networks’ leading position in carrier grade Wi-Fi equipment will accelerate the integration of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies.

The acquisition of BelAir Networks will be part of  what Ericsson calls its ‘heterogeneous network (hetnet) strategy’ to improve the mobile broadband experience by managing the co-existence of mobile technologies and Wi-Fi.

The BelAir Networks’ indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi systems enable service providers to build scalable, high performance Wi-Fi networks. The company develops mobile networking solutions that are deployed by service providers including AT&T and Comcast.

“Ericsson will lead the way in the growing converged Wi-Fi and cellular market where improved end-user experience is the driving force. By integrating BelAir Networks’ market-leading products and competence into Ericsson’s existing radio portfolio, we will be able to do this more quickly. We welcome 120 highly skilled people into the company,” said Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson.

“By focusing on the needs of leading service providers, BelAir Networks has achieved industry leadership with our unique portfolio of carrier-grade Wi-Fi” said Bernard Herscovich, CEO of BelAir Networks “This transaction is a natural step in the continued development of BelAir Networks and we believe that Ericsson presents a strategic and cultural fit.”

The acquisition is expected to close during the first half of 2012, subject to customary closing conditions.

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