SR Telecom finds an Angel

SR Telecom Inc. Thursday said it would acquire Netro Corp in a US$112 million deal to expand its product portfolio.

Based in San Jose, Calif., Netro manufactures

point to multipoint fixed broadband wireless systems for telecommunications service providers. Under the terms of the deal, a United States-based wholly- owned subsidiary of SR Telecom will merge into Netro.

SR Telecom’s president and CEO Pierre St-Arnaud says that the merger was motivated by his company’s desire to include fixed wireless access products in its lineup. Netro technology will now allow the Canadian telco to deliver range, carrier class last mile broadband fixed wireless access solutions that are rapidly deployable, reliable and cost effective, he said.

Of particular interest to SR Telecom were Netro’s Angel and AirStar products. Angel is a next generation 3.5 GHz wireless access solution. SR Telecom describes it as the first commercially deployed carrier-class non-line of sight system based on OFDM technology.

Angel provides small business and residential users with top quality voice and broadband packet data services on a single platform, said St-Arnaud. It also provides optimal coverage and capacity, as well as a significantly reduced operating and capital cost. The AirStar product is a high capacity fixed broadband access solution, aimed at the SMB space. It’s designed to solve the last-mile bottleneck for large business applications, Arnaud said.

“”Both the Angel and the AirStar products have an excellent track record for performance and stability,”” he said.

Forrester Research director of global telecom services Browlee Thomas says the move to expand SR Telecom’s product offering by introducing this technology is a good move.

“”It makes a lot of sense. SR Telecom has a lot of contracts around the world to install things. So if they’re buying this it’s because they consider this good cusp technology to be able to sell in Africa, to sell in Asia,”” she said. “”It’s where you want to see companies like SR Telecom go.””

Thomas said, however, that it is too early to tell whether the new products will make SR Telecom a winner in its market space. The market is so fragmented right now that it’s hard to predict who will survive and who will go by the way side, she said.

“”It’s so fragmented that there are no winners out there,”” Thomas said. “”There were a number, about four or five, national (multichannel multipoint distribution service) MMDS licenses in Canada, for example. Look (Communications) is the only one that survived and even they went through a bankruptcy.””

SR Telecom CFO David Adams said the company also looks to realize a number of financial benefits from the acquisition. Following the tran

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