JMA Wireless acquires 5G radio solutions provider Phazr

Phazr base station
This shows a Phazr 5G base station (currently being trialed by U.S. carriers) that concurrently supports mid-band (3.5-4.2 GHZ) and millimeter wave frequencies. (Phazr)

JMA Wireless just acquired Phazr, the Allen, Texas-based provider of 5G RAN technology that supports spectrum from 600 MHz all the way up to 47 GHz. Financial details were not released.

The deal creates what JMA describes as the industry’s first fully integrated architecture that addresses nonstandalone and standalone systems for in-building, large venues and outdoor 5G and LTE while addressing the emerging demand to move RAN assets toward 100% virtualization and driving intelligence to the edge of the network.

JMA employs just under 1,000 and is acquiring about 60 mostly engineering-oriented employees with Phazr. The intention was to expand the JMA talent pool and bring in the 5G technology, so layoffs are not expected as part of the package, according to Todd Landry, JMA Wireless' corporate vice president of product and market strategy.

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“Phazr really complements our current XRAN platform,” Landry told FierceWirelessTech. “It also establishes us as the first American company with a complete LTE and 5G technology suite.”

RELATED: Editor’s Corner—This is why the wireless industry is running from cRAN to vRAN to oRAN

Both companies are involved in the evolution to a more open-based RAN ecosystem. JMA’s XRAN is a 100% software-based platform that aligns with initiatives driven by organizations such as the ORAN Alliance. Several other initiatives are underway and there’s overlap among them, but they’re all aimed at delivering new service capabilities and virtualization.

JMA is a midsized U.S.-based company with a market presence with Tier 1 operators, while Phazr is a startup with a strong R&D technology background, but it needed a partner that can bring its solutions to market. JMA’s LTE solutions are installed in stadiums across the country, and it has the marketing and other expertise that Phazr needs.

“JMA is a great fit” because it’s a 100% U.S.-based company, and “our goal from the beginning has been to create a U.S.-based alternative to the three big guys,” Phazr CEO and founder Farooq Khan, Ph.D., said in an interview, referring to Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung.

Phazr’s focus has been the RAN, and it’s been working with Cisco on the packet core. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles this year, Phazr demonstrated end-to-end 5G data calls using Cisco’s packet core. 

RELATED: Phazr gets FCC/CE certifications to deploy its 5G mmWave base stations

Phazr was the first 5G solutions provider to be granted both FCC and CE certification for its millimeter-wave radios, according to Khan. The certifications allow it to offer 5G products for early commercial deployments with customers in the U.S. and Europe.

Phazr isn’t naming names, but its 5G New Radio vRAN mobility portfolio is being trialed today by three major U.S. operators, with commercial deployments possible by the second quarter of 2019.