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May 3, 2011
Motorola Mobility LLC wants in on the cable Wi-Fi and cellular backhaul sweepstakes, but, interestingly enough, Motorola Solutions Inc. (NYSE: MSI) didn't provide the answer it was seeking.
Instead, Motorola Mobility decided to hook up with BelAir Networks Inc. and strike up a reseller deal that gives Moto access to the vendor's line of Wi-Fi access and picocell equipment for the cable market.
Moto has exclusive rights to resell those BelAir products on a worldwide basis under its own label, with the exception of BelAir's accounts with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks , says Motorola Mobility VP of Strategy and Business Development John Holobinko.
Motorola Mobility, he adds, did take a close look at Motorola Solutions's "MotoMesh" products during its cable Wi-Fi and cell backhaul product evaluations, but found that BelAir's products were better suited to the MSO market.
Among BelAir's latest wares is a Long Term Evolution (LTE)/Wi-Fi metro picocell that could help MSOs host LTE backhaul capacity while also supporting their own outdoor Wi-Fi services. BelAir has also developed a 3G version.
Why this matters
Motorola is adding BelAir to the menu as cable operators around the world look to extend their broadband services wirelessly using strand-mounted Wi-Fi access points and try to create new revenue streams by supplying cell backhaul services to wireless voice and data service providers.
The deal gives Moto an angle into a contested cable Wi-Fi market that also includes Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), which entered the mix in March after signing a partnership with Ruckus Wireless Inc. . (See Arris to Resell Ruckus Wi-Fi Gear.)
For BelAir, Moto will help it extend into international cable markets it hasn't been able to reach. BelAir President and CEO Bernard Herscovich estimates that as much as 85 percent of its sales are in the U.S (AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is its biggest customer). The companies, not coincidentally, made the announcement in concert with this week's ANGA Cable Show in Cologne, Germany.
For more about BelAir's cable play, the competitive landscape and cable's pursuit of the Wi-Fi and cell backhaul markets, check out:
MSO WiFi: Roam (If You Want To)
Cable-ized Picocells Give MSOs Spot at LTE Table
Cable's $5B Biz Services Bonanza
BelAir Pitches Wi-Fi/3G Picocell At Cable
Ruckus Takes a Run at Cisco & BelAir
BelAir's Picocell Gets a Plug
Cablevision Plays WiFi Card
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable
Senior Editor, Light Reading
Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.
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