Airband, Sparkplug merge to create largest U.S. fixed-wireless company

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Fixed-wireless companies Airband Communications and Sparkplug Communications announced a merger that creates the largest fixed-wireless company, the companies said.

The combined company will operate as Airband Communications, headquartered in Dallas, and provide data and a full suite of VoIP services to 17 U.S. markets. Michael Ruley, formerly CEO of Sparkplug, becomes CEO of Airband. Tim Kinnear, formerly CEO of Airband stays on as CFO.

"Our companies share the belief that it's critical to increase market penetration in existing territories and leverage the economies of scale we will realize with our combined networks and services," Ruley said in a release. "As a combined entity, we will have the financial backing, network and human resources required to grow, organically and strategically, and to further enhance our competitive position in our markets."

The combined company covers markets including Atlanta; Austin; Baltimore; Dallas; Des Moines; Fort Lauderdale; Fort Worth; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Orange County, Calif; Philadelphia; Phoenix; San Antonio; San Diego and Washington, D.C.

The merged company will receive $20 million in financing as part of the transaction. Previous equity backers Ignition Partners, Key Venture Partners, M/C Venture Partners and Trilogy Equity Partners are leading the $11 million equity investment. In addition, Airband received $9 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank and MMV Financial. The new financing will be used to fund growth and acquisitions.

For more:
- see this release