open RAN

Two Parallel Wireless founders exit to start A5G Networks

Two of the founders of Parallel Wireless have left the company to develop their own startup, A5G Networks.

Rajesh Mishra, now the former president and CTO of Parallel Wireless, will be the CEO of A5G Networks. Kaitki Agarwal, previously chief product officer of Parallel Wireless, will be the CTO and COO of A5G Networks.

Mishra told Light Reading he decided to start A5G Networks due to the growth in the open RAN arena, where Parallel Wireless has been a leading player.

"When you have a lot of [open] RANs, what happens then?" Mishra said, explaining that A5G Networks will sell software for network orchestration.

Such an offering makes sense given concerns that some operators have about the complexity involved in implementing open RAN technology. The open RAN trend promises to break up wireless networks into interchangeable components from multiple vendors, rather than monolithic blocks supplied by one vendor. But that creates integration challenges for operators looking to mix and match products from a variety of open RAN suppliers.

Indeed, that's exactly the issue that T-Mobile's networking chief recently raised. "Today, I buy a solution from an Ericsson or a Nokia or a Samsung; it's warrantied. I have one neck to choke. If something goes wrong, I know where to go. In an O-RAN environment, you have to do a lot more heavy lifting as the operator," said T-Mobile's Neville Ray. "Who's ultimately responsible for all of the integration?"

For his part, Mishra said he's currently financing A5G Networks himself, but is also in discussions with possible investors.

"The timing was right," he said of his departure from Parallel Wireless, citing the status of open RAN in the wider wireless market. "I've got to start working and building."

Eugina Jordan, the VP of marketing at Parallel Wireless, said the company is already seeking to hire a VP of product. "Parallel Wireless is becoming more mature and ready for the next level of growth and scale," she wrote in response to questions from Light Reading. She noted both Mishra and Agarwal like a startup environment "and are going back to the exciting startup life."

Jordan added that Keith Johnson, Parallel's COO, is now running the company's day-to-day operations, and will be in charge of filling the company's CTO position. She said Steve Papa, one of the company's founders and its current CEO and chairman, remains in charge of Parallel's strategic direction.

Parallel and A5G Networks are two of a growing number of incumbent and startup vendors hoping to ride an open RAN-powered growth wave.

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

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