Fastback begins testing small cell tech with Tier 1 carriers

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Silicon Valley-based startup Fastback Networks today announced it raised $15 million in its Series B funding round from Matrix Partners, Foundation Capital, Granite Ventures and Juniper Networks' Junos Innovation Fund. The company said it will use the cash to continue pushing its small cell connectivity technology, which the company said is "currently in trials with Tier 1 mobile network and services operators," although the company declined to name the operators.

"Our Series B funding allows us to build on our success and address the opportunity as today's disaggregated mobile networks seamlessly converge across public, private, LTE and Wi-Fi networks," said Kevin Duffy, Fastback's CEO and co-founder.

Fastback launched earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, with the promise of fast and efficient backhaul for small cells. The startup is hoping its technology solves a key problem for wireless network operators: connecting their small cells back to the Internet without expensive wires or direct lines of sight to towers. Specifically, Fastback said its AnyLOS (any line of sight) technology can provide up to 500 Mbps with less than 500 microseconds latency anywhere within a 2 km range. Duffy recently told the Wall Street Journal that Fastback's technology relies in part on chips from Israeli company DesignArt Networks, which was purchased last year by Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM).

Fastback said it is "engaged in trial activity with all the Tier 1 U.S. operators and will begin trials with European operators by the end of calendar Q2." The company said the trials include both mobile network operators and Ethernet backhaul providers.

The company is entering a crowded, but potentially lucrative, space. Other small cell vendors range from the big (Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent) to the small (Tarana Wireless and BLiNQ Networks). The vendors are vying for a piece of a market that Infonetics Research predicts will reach a value of $2.7 billion by 2017. Infonetics said 4G small cell shipments will overtake 3G shipments by the end of 2013.

Fastback is based in San Jose, Calif., and counts around 30 employees. The company was founded in June 2010 and funded 11 months later by Series A investors including Foundation Capital and Granite Ventures.

For more:
- see this release

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