Light Reading

Altiostar Networks: Hola, LTE!

Dan Jones

Massachusetts startup Altiostar Networks Inc. appears to have lined up an operator trial in Mexico for its so-far mysterious LTE offerings.

The startup -- founded as Radio Mobile Access Inc. by ex-Starent CEO Ashraf Dahod in 2011 -- has been pretty tight-lipped about what 4G technology it is developing, declining to elaborate on its plans when asked by Light Reading. (See Cisco to Buy Starent for $2.9B.)

So far the company merely says it is creating "an exciting array of solutions for the mobile broadband industry," which includes an "LTE eNodeB... designed to improve quality of experience, enhance spectral efficiency, and significantly reduce total cost of ownership."

The startup does seem to have at least one operator test lined up south of the (US) border. The firm recently advertised a position in Mexico for "an individual with experience installing, testing and supporting 3G/4G cellular base station equipment." The firm was looking for "significant experience in RF and eNodeB lab testing and optimization."

"Immediate need is support lab and field trials, but will need to help recruit subcontractors and employees to support Tier 1 support of production equipment," the advert states.

The firm has also been assembling a sizeable LTE engineering team in India. "The India-based team will be responsible and accountable for developing a majority of the software system and testing it," another advert notes.

Management and more of the development team are centered around the Boston area. Smaller groups are in Latin America and the UK.

The company is fueling this expansion with more than $60 million in funding. The latest round of $50 million was filed in late August last year.

The firm may also need some moolah to pay for the mall in a swamp in which it appears to have based its headquarters:

Sink or swim? Altiostar has located itself in the little-known Tewksbury, Mass. wetlands.
Sink or swim? Altiostar has located itself in the little-known Tewksbury, Mass. wetlands.

Signs point toward some kind of "smart node" software-assisted network hardware as the startup's goal. The firm has retained the Patent GC law firm to protect and patent its networking intellectual property.

Altiostar has also licensed header compression technology for basestation applications.

Indeed, the (admittedly small) mobile NFV crowd seems to see Altiostar as more of a friend than a threat.

"We certainly think they're a fantastic bunch," Hassan Ahmed, CEO of fellow Massachusetts startup Affirmed Networks Inc. , told Light Reading earlier this year. He described the Altiostar technology as "complementary" to the virtual packet core software that Affirmed has been trialling recently, but didn't give any further clues. (See Affirmed Claims Mobile NFV Customers, Trials.)

There's no doubt that the Altiostar team has the kind of pedigree that will open doors and wallets, as Dahod was instrumental in attracting the $2.9 billion price tag that Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) paid for Starent in 2009. In addition to Dahod, CFO John Delea, VP of field operations Pierre Kahhale, and VP of marketing Kuntal Chowdhury are all former Starent staff, while VP of engineering and operations, Anil Sawkar, was formerly part of the 4G LTE development team at Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU).

But what exactly will Altiostar bring to the market that's fresh? Any ideas, readers?

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/19/2014 | 6:10:20 PM
Re: "little known" Tewksbury?
"Mall in a swamp" suggests the possibillity of alligators with frickin lasers on their heads to enforce stealth mode. 
User Rank: Blogger
3/19/2014 | 1:12:57 PM
Re: "little known" Tewksbury?
Hub hopefuls has a ring to it!
User Rank: Light Beer
3/19/2014 | 1:10:44 PM
Re: "little known" Tewksbury?
"Boston Boffins"? "Hub hopefuls"? "New England newbies"? "Mass maybes"?

Finding anything catchy?

User Rank: Blogger
3/19/2014 | 12:53:20 PM
Re: "little known" Tewksbury?
Wait, does Airvana actually exist in any real form now? I can't recall...
User Rank: Blogger
3/19/2014 | 12:51:39 PM
Re: "little known" Tewksbury?
We were just having some fun with the caption, we don't really think they're based in a mall in a swamp either!  Sorry if that didn't come across.

Certainly there's an enclave of well-funded LTE startups coming up in the greater Boston area now. What to call 'em is what's bugging me now. Silicon Massholes is catchy but probably a bit offensive, right?
User Rank: Light Beer
3/19/2014 | 12:46:10 PM
"little known" Tewksbury?
Tewksbury is where Starent was based. Wasn't/isn't Airvana there as well? maybe it was Chelmsford, but tewksbury is hardly unknown.
Steve Saunders
Steve Saunders,
User Rank: Blogger
3/19/2014 | 12:05:33 PM
Re: Might have a few more details soon..
wow - bloody great story Dan!


User Rank: Blogger
3/19/2014 | 10:55:12 AM
Might have a few more details soon..
Stay tuned...
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