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Verana gears up for mmWave tests

Startup Verana Networks recently asked the FCC for permission to test transmissions in 27GHz spectrum in near its offices in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

"We have just applied for an experimental license to build a small test network near our office in Massachusetts," Amit Jain, Verana's founder and chief commercial officer, wrote in response to questions from Light Reading.

Verana said it plans to test network operators near its offices in Massachusetts. (Source: Google Maps)
Verana said it plans to test network operators near its offices in Massachusetts.
(Source: Google Maps)

Verizon is the primary owner of that spectrum, according to spectrum-research firm AllNet Insights & Analytics. Jain declined to discuss the topic beyond the company's filing with the FCC, including whether Verana has an agreement with Verizon.

Regardless, it's clear that Verana is working to move forward after announcing at the end of 2020 that it raised $11 million in venture capital funding. Spark Capital led Verana's Series A round of funding, with Aspiro Capital, DC Investment Partners and Bold Capital also participating.

The company said it would use the money to begin building 5G basestations for transmissions in millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum like the 27GHz band. The company said it expects to begin commercial sales starting in 2022.

Verana has said that its products will be based on Open RAN Alliance (O-RAN) interfaces. That's noteworthy considering network operators are hoping the open RAN trend will foster additional equipment suppliers in the industry, thus breaking up the dominance of heavyweights like Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson.

"We are really counting on open RAN for our success at this stage," Jain said in 2020.

"We believe that our vision to dramatically improve the economics of mmWave deployments, and our decades of experience building innovative radio access network products for major mobile network operators gives us an edge in the fast-growing multi-billion-dollar market for 5G network infrastructure," Vedat Eyuboglu, Verana's CEO and co-founder, said in a release in 2020.

Verana's continued focus on transmissions in mmWave spectrum is noteworthy given the US wireless industry's general, gradual shift from mmWave to midband 5G deployments. However, Verizon and others have pledged they will continue to expand mmWave network buildouts. And mmWave proponents like Qualcomm have argued that a large and growing number of network operators in countries ranging from China to South Korea to Russia are investing into mmWave 5G networks.

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

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