HPE bolsters private 5G chops with purchase of Athonet

Tech giant HPE has snapped up Athonet –  an Italian private cellular network technology specialist  – as it leans further into the private 5G networking game.

The firm says that combining Athonet’s assets with its existing HPE telco and Aruba networking portfolios will put it ‘at the forefront’ of the private 5G market, allowing it to deliver private networking capabilities directly to enterprises and provide an ‘enhanced offering for CSPs’ which will support private 4G and 5G networks and include telco-grade orchestration and automation capabilities, apparently.

Through its newly bolstered division, HPE will be flogging HPE GreenLake – it’s edge-to-cloud platform – together with Athonet private 5G offerings, the benefit apparently being all costs for Wi-Fi and private 5G are bundled up in one monthly bill. HPE cites IDC figures that say the enterprise 5G market is going to grow $1.6 billion every year by 2026.

Based in Vicenza, Italy, Athonet has a 15-year history of deploying 4G and 5G mobile core solutions to around 450 firms in various industries such as mobile operators, hospitals, airports, transportation ports, utilities, government and public safety organizations.

“Telco customers are looking for simpler ways to deploy private 5G networks to meet growing customer expectations at the connected edge,” said Tom Craig, global vice president and general manager, Communications Technology Group at HPE. “At the same time, enterprise customers are demanding a customized 5G experience with low-latency, segregated resources, extended range and security across campus and industrial environments that complement their existing wireless networks.

“With the acquisition of Athonet, HPE now has one of the most complete private 5G and Wi-Fi portfolios for CSP and enterprise customers – and we will offer it as a service through HPE GreenLake.”

Gianluca Verin, CEO and co-founder of Athonet added: “Athonet was founded to provide customers with private 4G and 5G solutions that deliver carrier-grade reliability and performance to suit their increasing and more challenging connectivity needs. We are excited to join HPE and combine our highly skilled teams as we expand our joint service provider offerings for the rapidly growing private 5G market and build on HPE’s strategy to be the leading edge-to-cloud solutions provider.”

The transaction is expected to close at the beginning of Q3 of HPE’s 2023 fiscal year, though that is subject to regulatory approvals. The release does not mention how much the firm was sold for.

In a recent interview with, Tom Craig – HPE’s VP and General Manager of the Communications Technology Group – told us when asked if all the all the useful innovations and applications for 5G are in the industrial or enterprise space right now:

“There are other consumer applications that are talked about – gaming in augmented reality applications – but the difficulty is so far none have passed the acid test that I’ve seen in terms of deployment of and ‘will the customer pay more for this?’ In the B2B space though there are very clear areas… in factory optical defect inspection for zero defect manufacturing, the return on the business case can be profound. And so will customers pay incrementally for the solutions? Absolutely.”

You can read the full interview here.


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