Where it's based: Nashua, N.H.
When it was founded: 2012
Why it's Fierce: What if deploying a cellular network was as easy as deploying a Wi-Fi network? And at a fifth of the cost of traditional cellular buildouts?
That's exactly the goal of Parallel Wireless and its CEO, Steve Papa. Funded with entrepreneur capital and pushing forward with around 100 employees, Parallel believes it can bring a software-based strategy to cellular network rollouts that makes it cheaper and easier than ever for wireless operators to bring LTE into new, rural areas.
"We see so much opportunity. There's a lot we want to build," Papa said.
Papa explained that Parallel's approach to LTE network rollouts ignores decades of legacy technologies and strategies and starts fresh with the latest in cutting-edge software and commodity hardware. Specifically, the company's technology makes use of multi-radio mesh software-defined networking (SDN) backhaul; self-organizing network (SON)-based interference mitigation; dynamic RF power adjustment; software-defined radio (SDR) capabilities; and more. The result, Papa said, is "the ability to change people's lives" by bringing inexpensive wireless services to rural and out-of-the-way places.
Parallel acknowledges that its pitch may seem too good to be true, which is why it announced late last year a deal with UK operator EE to build a "micro network" in the small village of Sebergham. The network can connect communities of around 100-150 homes and businesses across an area of 0.5 square miles with just three or four small antennas.
"With this innovative new technology, we have the capability to connect every community in the UK, and we estimate that we'll be able to bring reliable voice coverage and high speed mobile broadband to more than 1,500 places for the first time by 2017," EE CEO Olaf Swantee said in a release from Parallel.
What's next: Papa is decidedly tight-lipped about Parallel's financials and future plans. He said the company is gearing up to increase its global workforce to target operator customers across the world, and that the company hopes to have "announcements with a dozen different carriers for significant rollouts" within the next year or so. Indeed, he said Parallel already has "a number of active trials underway."
"In 12 months from now, there's going to be a lot more to share," Papa promised.