March 10, 2009
RadioFrame Networks Inc. is the first high-profile company to exit the femtocell hardware business, Unstrung has learned, although it will continue to make chips for the tiny home basestations.
This morning, Redmond, Wash.-based RadioFrame confirmed rumors that it had closed down its European office -- while stressing that it is still very active in the U.S. -- and said it was getting out of the customer equipment side of the femtocell business.
"While we closed down Europe specific to Femto cell, we are now focused on our iDEN and ASIC businesses," the company's CEO Jeff Brown said in an email reply to Unstrung.
"We are trying to be prudent with our money in these tough economic times and we have pared back to a core set of businesses that will take advantage of our unique market position while maximizing our use of funds."
RadioFrame's EMEA business was headquartered in Dublin. It is not yet clear how many people the closure may affect, and the company isn't commenting.
According to an industry source, RadioFrame has recently laid off employees, and European staff were mainly in business development and sales roles, but it is unclear just how many employees are involved.
Chatter about the company grew when it wasn't at the major European Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona last month, and it appears there are no plans for CTIA Wireless 2009 in Las Vegas either. On the company's Website in the "Upcoming Events" section, it says "Nothing scheduled at this time."
Back in August last year, RadioFrame -- founded by McCaw Cellular veteran Rob Mechaley -- raised $28 million in Series F equity and debt financing, which brought the company's total funding to $100 million since 2001. (See Femto Vendor Lands $28M.)
At the time of the last funding round, CEO Brown told Unstrung that the money would be used to further develop its femtocell products. Currently, the company's revenues come mainly from iDEN and GSM picocell sales. Nokia Networks resells RadioFrame's picocell products and is also a system integrator partner for femtocell products. (See RadioFrame Pumps Up iDEN, NSN, RadioFrame Team, Orange Uses RadioFrame Pico, and TeliaSonera Tackles Indoor Coverage .)
RadioFrame's femtocell product -- a 7.2 Mbit/s HSDPA standalone device dubbed the OmniCell@Home -- is not yet commercially available and is not in any operator trials. See our report, Who Makes What: Femtocells, to see how RadioFrame compares to its femto rivals. (See Radioframe Intros OmniCell.)
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, and Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung
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