SAN FRANCISCO—The ramifications of M&A for an acquired company are not always clear at the onset, but for SpiderCloud Wireless it’s been nothing but upside, according to Art King, director of enterprise at SpiderCloud.
Based in Milpitas, California, SpiderCloud develops small cell network platforms for coverage and capacity inside buildings. Verizon, for one, has deployed SpiderCloud’s solution. SpiderCloud also has been active in the LTE-U and CBRS spaces.
In July, Corning announced that it was acquiring SpiderCloud for an undisclosed amount, and, according to King, the result has been massive. “It’s transformational to how we’re perceived and to be part of the whole Corning wireless business and the Corning optical business—it’s a huge advantage for us as far as perception in the market,” King told FierceWirelessTech during Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA).
The main goal is to get direct-to-enterprise launched in a big way so the pent-up demand in the enterprise space can be met. Previously, the way the channel was arranged, an enterprise couldn’t just call up SpiderCloud, order and buy product; no matter how much money they had, they had to go through a third party and that wasn’t always a guaranteed deal.
Now, Corning has the channels and it’s a massive company, reporting revenue of nearly $10 billion in 2016. And operators don’t have to worry about the risk of doing business with a small company that may or may not have the financial wherewithal to make it through the long haul.
Verizon, one of the early proponents of LTE-U, tapped SpiderCloud for an LTE-U system last year and announced an indoor trial with the gear. LTE-U uses the unlicensed 5 GHz band to increase throughput via carrier aggregation with licensed bands. SpiderCloud’s LTE-U Enterprise Radio Access Network (E-RAN) was designed to deliver LTE capacity over licensed and unlicensed spectrum to thousands of subscribers in high-density venues such as multi-tenant business offices, shopping malls, hospitals, university campuses and concert halls.
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Verizon rival AT&T looked at LTE-U and did some early testing but concluded that LAA direct was the way to go. The standards from an LAA perspective were progressing, and LAA has the full-blown listen-before-talk capabilities. T-Mobile said in June it had completed LAA tests on its commercial network, and Verizon told RCR Wireless in August that it was ready to start rolling out LAA at select cell sites around the U.S.
King said SpiderCloud learned a lot by developing LTE-U even though it knew LAA was going to replace LTE-U in the long term. The Qualcomm chip used in the LTE-U gear is upgradeable with a code release from LTE-U to LAA.
“LTE-U, I think, was a catalyst to start the industry moving forward on the conversation of spectrum sharing and unlicensed, but LAA was the destination because you had to satisfy the LBT (listen-before-talk) requirements globally in order to build a product that was good for the world,” King said.
“We learned a lot of lessons and where we’ve got LTE-U deployed right now, we are learning so much about Wi-Fi,” he added.
As for the tie-up with Corning, that led to a lot of quality meetings at MWCA, and “I think there’s more magic to follow.”