open RAN

Airspan's earnings are up, but its stock is down

Airspan – one of the latest companies hoping to cash in on the open RAN wave in 5G – reported gains in its quarterly revenues and profits, even as the company's shares have been falling since its re-entry into the public markets last week.

"Our strong pre-combination second quarter 2021 results, when taken together with our first quarter performance, demonstrate we have excellent momentum as we continue to execute our growth strategy," boasted Airspan CEO Eric Stonestrom in the company's earnings release Thursday.

Airspan notched second-quarter revenues of $42 million, up 51% from the year-ago quarter. The company's gross profit clocked in at $19.2 million, up 31% from the second quarter of 2020.

"We generated strong revenue from existing customers, expanded revenue from fixed wireless access (FWA) and continued to diversify our customer base. We launched new 5G products filling out our solutions portfolio as we pursue the growing 5G addressable market," Stonestrom explained.

That said, company's shares have been falling since Airspan's IPO at the beginning of last week. The stock opened at around $10 per share on its first day of trading and, on Monday afternoon, it had slipped to around $6.85 per share.

Airspan announced plans earlier this year to again become a public company via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called New Beginnings Acquisition Corp. (NBA). Airspan is hoping to cash in on demand for 5G equipment, alongside early support for open RAN technologies and cable companies' push into wireless infrastructure.

"If open RAN succeeds wildly, we succeed," Stonestrom told Light Reading in a recent interview. "[But] I prefer not to think of us as an open RAN pure-play. I prefer to think of us as an alternate RAN pure-play."

However, the company may need to show investors more progress with its customers – and traction against behemoths like Ericsson and Nokia – in order to generate interest on Wall Street.

Airspan's troubles are noteworthy considering Mavenir – another open RAN company based in the US – scrapped its own plan to go public late last year, citing "market volatility."

Softbank, Dish Network, Qualcomm, Jio and Foxconn are among Airspan's investors.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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