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February 21, 2012

Ericsson Acquires Canadian Carrier Grade Wi-Fi Portfolio of BelAir Networks

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

An important function of the overall mobile broadband user experience, Wi-Fi technology is becoming a standard feature in smartphones, notebooks, tablets and other mobile consumer electronics devices, driven primarily by the growth of mobile broadband and the increase in cloud-based services and other high data-consuming functions and features. To address this growing need for Wi-Fi technology in mobile networks, telecom equipment supplier Ericsson (News - Alert) launched its Network Integrated Wi-Fi solution last September.

Now, to complement its heterogeneous network offerings with carrier grade Wi-Fi portfolio, Ericsson has entered into an agreement to acquire 100 percent of the shares of privately-held Canadian Wi-Fi company BelAir Networks. Ericsson said that through this acquisition it will acquire a strong carrier grade Wi-Fi portfolio, technological expertise, IPR, as well as established customer contracts and relationships. However, the buyer did not reveal any terms of this deal.

In fact, according to Ericsson, it has taken the next step toward a truly integrated network. The combination of Ericsson’s mobile infrastructure technology leadership and BelAir Networks’ leading position in carrier grade Wi-Fi equipment will accelerate the integration of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies, said Ericsson.

According to Ericsson, BelAir Networks will become part of the company’s heterogeneous network (hetnet) strategy and will help the company manage the co-existence of mobile technologies and Wi-Fi. As a result, said Ericsson, BelAir Networks’ indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi systems will enable service providers to build scalable, high performance Wi-Fi networks. The company develops mobile networking solutions that are deployed by service providers including AT&T (News - Alert) and Comcast, Ericsson said.

In a statement, said Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson, “Ericsson will lead the way in the growing converged Wi-Fi and cellular market where improved end-user experience is the driving force. By integrating BelAir Networks’ market-leading products and competence into Ericsson’s existing radio portfolio, we will be able to do this more quickly. We welcome 120 highly skilled people into the company.”

“By focusing on the needs of leading service providers, BelAir Networks has achieved industry leadership with our unique portfolio of carrier-grade Wi-Fi” said Bernard Herscovich, CEO of BelAir Networks. “This transaction is a natural step in the continued development of BelAir Networks and we believe that Ericsson presents a strategic and cultural fit.”

Established in 2002, BelAir Networks is based in Ottawa, Ontario and has approximately 120 employees. BelAir Networks’ employees will join Ericsson’s global organization.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf
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