Motorola, BelAir team for cable Wi-Fi offering

Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) announced a deal with Wi-Fi vendor BelAir Networks that will see Motorola's portfolio of cable video and broadband solutions coupled with BelAir's Wi-Fi solutions for service providers to bring to market a comprehensive Wi-Fi portfolio to cable operators globally.

The deal is a coup for the significantly smaller BelAir, which does have impressive Wi-Fi deals with AT&T and major cable providers such as Cablevision. Motorola will offer Motorola Cable Wi-Fi solutions that will enable cable providers to offer their subscribers on-the-go broadband services that are an extension of their in-home broadband services. In addition, BelAir is far along in the Wi-Fi picocell game. It has already deployed a Wi-Fi/3G picocell that is being used by a cable provider that is wholesaling the connections to an unnamed wireless operator.

Motorola's Cable Wi-Fi portfolio supports virtual Wi-Fi access points that allow cable operators to offer branded Wi-Fi services to their service provider partners using a single access point. Combined with the ability to provide localized backhaul of cellular devices, these Cable Wi-Fi and picocell technologies offer opportunities for new revenue streams, Motorola said.

A BelAir picocell can be mounted on the strand of a cable plant, it can also be placed underground to connect to underground fiber or fiber-coax lines for the power and backhaul it needs. Or the picocell can be placed on light poles and other fixtures.

"The Motorola and BelAir alliance can further grow the influence of Wi-Fi and picocell solutions in the mobile ecosystem, especially if cable operators can successfully recruit operator partners to use their branded Wi-Fi and localized backhaul services," said Current Analysis analysts Daryl Schoolar and Ron Westfall in a recent research note. "The emergence of micro-cell technology enables fixed-line operators to leverage their assets (e.g., internally-powered HFC plant) to target mobile revenue opportunities."

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