CommScope acquiring small cell specialist Airvana

Acquisition is expected to extend CommScope’s wireless capabilities and innovation.

Airvana logo
Airvana logo

CommScope (NASDAQ: COMM), a provider of connectivity and essential infrastructure solutions for communications networks, announced that it has agreed to acquire Airvana LP, a privately-held provider of small cell solutions for wireless networks.

Headquartered in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Airvana is known for providing award-winning 4G LTE and 3G small cell solutions that enable people to access communications, information and entertainment in the most challenging and high-value environments, including offices, public venues and homes. Since its founding in 2000, Airvana has played a key role in enabling the use of mobile devices for data access, notes CommScope. "Airvana began small cell development to complement its macro cell mobile broadband infrastructure products and today focuses exclusively on small cells," adds a CommScope press release. "Airvana has shipped 1.5 million small cells and supports one of the largest small cell networks in the world."

The acquisition will expand CommScope’s leadership and capabilities in providing indoor wireless capacity and coverage -- an increasingly important market opportunity that is growing due to consumers’ and businesses’ insatiable demand for wireless data, notes the company. Further, the combination of Airvana’s small cell offerings and CommScope’s distributed antenna systems (DAS) portfolio will enable CommScope to provide a broader range of solutions, addressing single-operator, single-band, low capacity environments all the way through multi-carrier, multi-technology, multi-band, high capacity environments.

Airvana’s 4G small cell product portfolio includes OneCell, billed as the world’s first Cloud RAN small cell system, targeted for enterprise and public venue LTE deployments. OneCell has won multiple technology awards, including the Outstanding Overall Mobile Technology award at Mobile World Congress 2015. Airvana also introduced recently the S1000 Small Cell for small and medium businesses, and is a finalist for the Emerging Technology Award at CTIA Super Mobility 2015 September 9-11 in Las Vegas. Both small cell solutions are managed via the Airvana Device Management System, a comprehensive, highly scalable small cell management system that enables plug-and-play provisioning of small cells, self-organizing networks (SON) and performance monitoring.

“Airvana has differentiated itself in the emerging indoor small cell market through its unique product architecture and innovation,” comments Morgan Kurk, senior vice president and Wireless segment leader, CommScope. “With a 15-year track record of delivering mobile broadband infrastructure products that meet the requirements of Tier 1 operators, Airvana’s carrier-grade embedded software development capabilities are impressive and complementary to CommScope. As the wireless industry evolves toward Cloud RAN, we believe that CommScope’s ION-E solution and Airvana’s OneCell Cloud RAN small cell system together will comprise a full range of highly flexible, cost-effective solutions that address all the indoor wireless challenges customers face. I look forward to welcoming Airvana to CommScope and working with its talented team to provide the wireless solutions needed for today and into the future.”

Richard Lowe, Airvana’s president and chief executive officer; Vedat Eyuboglu, Airvana’s co-founder and chief technology officer; and Airvana’s existing employees, most of whom are in Chelmsford, Mass. and Bangalore, India, will join CommScope. The acquired business will continue to be headquartered in Chelmsford and will operate within CommScope’s Wireless segment upon completion of the acquisition. “Our breakthrough Cloud RAN small cell architecture represents a dramatic advance in wireless performance, capacity and deployment economics,” said Airvana's Eyuboglu. “With CommScope, we will be perfectly positioned to realize its full potential.”

“We look forward to pairing our expertise in small cells with CommScope’s broad portfolio and global presence,” added Airvana's Lowe. “Combining our capabilities will create an extensive set of indoor wireless solutions to meet the evolving needs of our customers. Moreover, we believe CommScope’s global marketing, distribution and support capabilities will enable us to rapidly grow the business for our small cell products. CommScope's intent to remain a leader in small cells through technology innovation and their commitment to their workforce makes it an excellent home for the Airvana business.”

The acquisition, which is structured as a purchase of substantially all of Airvana’s assets, is expected to be completed within the next 60 days. CommScope intends to fund the acquisition with cash on hand. Additional terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. is serving as legal advisor to CommScope. Pacific Crest Securities is serving as financial advisor to Airvana and Sidley Austin LLP is serving as its legal advisor.

More in Wireless/5G