Is Ericsson adapting by acquiring BelAir?

Ericsson is rumored to be in talks to acquire the Canadian wifi vendor BelAir, potentially giving the Swedish vendor an edge on wifi and small cells. If true, it’s a bold move by Ericsson who does not have significant expertise in wifi access but has been developing gateways that interface between cellular and wifi networks.

This would be an aggressive move by Ericsson, illustrating that the carrier wifi market is rapidly growing and that large vendors may not afford to wait until they develop their own wifi product lines – especially for in the case of a vendor like Ericsson who has long believed in the strength of its macro cellular product line. Ericsson is among the last vendors to embrace a new technology (including femtocells and wifi) that somewhat compete with traditional macro base stations, but it’s acquisition of BelAir would make sense in the current market environment.

BelAir Networks is also developing small cells solutions in addition to wifi. Small cells are expected to be a major trend during the next Mobile World Congress and in the years to come since urban locations with capacity constraints and rural markets with coverage blackspots are two particularly interesting locations for large scale deployments of small cells.

The acquisition would be beneficial to both parties: Ericsson will would get access to wifi and small cell technology while BelAir will would be able to take advantage of Ericsson’s market reach, managed services contracts and market trust to increase its footprint.

Informa expects more consolidation in the wifi and small cell space, where big vendors may choose to partner or acquire smaller, more agile vendors rather than develop their own product lines.

One comment

  1. Avatar popo 27/01/2012 @ 2:16 pm

    Ericson is turning out to be a dissapointment especially in the way they are handling emerging markets:case in point – Zambia , not sure that bold move is the right thing to do if they are unable to get their act together on a small OPCO like that

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