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February 24, 2023
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced it purchased Italian startup Athonet, which offers core networks for private cellular networking operations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
HPE said the transaction is designed to better position the company in the market for private wireless networking services, whether directly to enterprises or to network operators targeting the sector.
Analysts expect serious growth in the space. HPE cited figures from research firm IDC predicting $1.6 billion in revenues from core network sales to enterprises by 2026.
Similarly, ABI Research recently predicted the overall revenue opportunity for private cellular networks to grow from $7 billion in 2023 to more than $96 billion by 2030. However, companies like Verizon have argued that the private wireless networking opportunity isn't growing as fast as expected.
"Telco customers are looking for simpler ways to deploy private 5G networks to meet growing customer expectations at the connected edge," said HPE's Tom Craig in a release. Craig is the general manager of the company's Communications Technology Group.
"With the acquisition of Athonet, HPE now has one of the most complete private 5G and Wi-Fi portfolios for CSP [communication service providers] and enterprise customers," Craig added.
Figure 1: (Source: Michael Vi/Alamy Stock Photo)
HPE boasted that 15-year-old Athonet counts more than 450 successful customer deployments in various industries around the world. It added that Athonet would also strengthen its Aruba-branded portfolio of Wi-Fi offerings by allowing HPE to deliver "fully integrated Wi-Fi and private 5G networks."
HPE said it expects the transaction to close at the beginning of its third quarter.
HPE isn't the only company chasing the private wireless networking opportunity. Indeed, it's not the only one making news on the topic this week. Among some of the recent advancements in the space:
Startup RAKwireless announced its "5G in a box" hotspot that offers radio, core network and edge computing functions.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) said T-Mobile would support its new private wireless networking sales program.
Dell Technologies said it expanded its portfolio of offerings in the private wireless networking sector, a move designed to help the company sell its telecom services and equipment to enterprises building their own wireless networks.
Startup Celona announced new updates to its enterprise private wireless platform, including features that would be available beyond the US market.
Radio vendor Airspan announced the launch of its "Airspan Partner Program," designed to speed up the sale of its equipment among private wireless enterprise customers.
Startup Ataya, founded in 2021, emerged from stealth mode with a product company officials said will allow enterprise customers to manage all kinds of networks – whether Wi-Fi or 5G – from one interface. The company boasts a front office hailing from companies including Cisco, Ruckus, Commscope, Broadcom and Qualcomm.
Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading
Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.
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