Feature Article

March 03, 2014

Wheelings & Dealings: Westell Buys Cellular Specialties as In-building Wireless Heats Up

Westell Technologies Inc., a well-known name to long-time telephony types, today revealed it has purchased indoor wireless solutions company Cellular Specialties Inc. for $39 million. The plan is to bring together the acquired company’s distributed antennae system and small cell solutions with Westell’s intelligent monitoring and management tools for a broader portfolio that can reach a larger market.

This is noteworthy because in-building wireless systems are garnering significant interest lately given our increasing reliance of untethered connectivity, particularly while indoors.

CSI’s ClearLink solutions include antennas, digital repeaters, E11 and location-based offerings, passive DAS interface units, system components, and Universal DAS interface Trays. The company generates about $37 million in annual revenues.

Westell sells intelligent site and outside plant solutions. The intelligent site management solutions are sold under the Kentrox Remote brand. The company last month reported third quarter revenue of $25 million. Westell, which was founded in 1980 and went public in 1995 on the Nasdaq, has drawn the attention of Wall Street in recent weeks as trading of its stock jumped due to an upward earning revision, and Zacks’ categorizing the company as a Strong Buy. Its stock was trading at 4.13 this morning.

The Westell-Cellular Specialities indoor wireless solution will be just one of many in the marketplace. Other vendors in this space include Alcatel-Lucent; Axell Wireless;  Ericsson, which added to its portfolio last month with the introduction of a Small Cell as a Service offering; Taqua, which last month unveiled an in-building wireless coverage solution focused specifically on addressing voice over Wi-Fi; TE Connectivity, with its DAS solutions; and many others.

While Infonetics Research says the small cell market in 2013 fell short of expectations due primarily to their implementation costs and the firm has lowered its previous forecasts for this space, there appears to be growing interest in the in-building DAS and small cell space, which some vendors are not targeting with what they say are lower-cost solutions. This is an important space to watch given that an estimated 70 to 85 percent of mobile data is generated indoors. ABI Research says the in-door small opportunity will be worth $4 billion in 2018. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

FOLLOW MobilityTechzone

Subscribe to MobilityTechzone eNews

MobilityTechzone eNews delivers the latest news impacting technology in the Wireless industry each week. Sign up to receive FREE breaking news today!
FREE eNewsletter