Based: West Friendship, MD
Why it's Fierce: Over the past few years, wireless operators have focused on network coverage as a differentiator from their competitors. But few operators have focused on device performance, something that can make or break the customer experience. That's changing thanks to Metrico's wireless handset performance testing. Using a series of field tests and simulated lab tests, Metrico can objectively analyze handset performance and compare results against baseline performance metrics. Specifically, the firm's test procedures can measure a handset's listening quality, radio-audio response, call retention, call establishment and packet-data throughput.
The firm was founded by Dimitrios Topaltzas, who also helped start Telephia's Network Performance business unit in 1999. General Manager Des Owens previously ran the U.S. subsidiary of Actix. Although it's just three years old, the privately funded firm is profitable. Owens says that the firm's operator partners are asking Metrico to test handset performance before they begin selling the devices to customers thus alleviating many of the handset problems that aren't revealed until after they are in customers' hands. Metrico's customers include operators AT&T and T-Mobile and handset makers Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung and LG.
What to look for: With two Tier 1 operators as clients, look for Metrico to expand its carrier customer base both domestically and internationally. In addition, the firm plans to grow its performance testing to include laptops.