Wifi industry consolidation as Fon acquires XCellAir

Spanish wifi aggregator Fon has acquired carrier wifi specialist XcellAir from Interdigital to boost its Fontech B2B arm.

XcellAir was launched by telecoms R&D firm InterDigital in 2015 to help operators make the most of wifi and unlicensed spectrum in general in reinforcing their LTE signals. Fontech offers software-based solutions designed to help operators and enterprise manage wifi, so there’s a clear overlap here. On top of that Fon is lauding the geographical benefits of acquiring a US-based team.

Fontech will be incorporating XCellAir’s core product, the cloud-based XCellRAN carrier wifi solution, into its portfolio. It apparently features whizzy tech such as SON and radio resource management that offer carrier-grade control and analytics for wifi.

“We have known XCellAir for a long time and have always been impressed by their product, vision, and team, which are all complementary to Fon,” said Alex Puregger, CEO of Fon. “We are very excited to welcome them to Fon. The acquisition of XCellAir will further boost our technology and product leadership in the area of operator-managed wifi.”

“We are proud to have established XCellAir as a leader in the wifi management and optimization space and, in particular, enabling operators to deliver the best home wifi experience,” said Amit Agarwal, CEO of XcellAir. “The acquisition of XCellAir by Fon enables us to take the business to the next-level, immediately increasing scale and global reach. The entire team is excited to join the Fon family.”

They don’t explicitly say so but the last quote implies Agarwal is hanging around, at least for a bit. If you haven’t tired of generic M&A canned quotes you may derive some pleasure from the video of Puregger explaining the deal below. This move will presumably concern other wifi aggregators such as Devicescape and we wouldn’t rule out further consolidation in this area.

 

Fon rocks the world with sub-brand launch

If you day hasn’t been exciting enough, we’re about to blow you mind. Wifi provider Fon has launched a new brand specialising in wifi software for operators and enterprises.

Fon is best known for its wifi sharing proposition, though this launch will take it into new markets. Fontech will offer a suite of software-based solutions that it claims will enable customers to build and operate their own wifi services in a secure, scalable, and flexible manner.

“We are launching Fontech to accelerate the intelligent deployment of wifi networks on a global scale by developing a cutting-edge portfolio of wifi solutions that cover all use cases,” said Alex Puregger, CEO at Fon. “We will use our expertise to enable clients to build and manage their own wifi networks, and offer new value-added, wifi -based services.

“The Fon brand is an asset and we believe that maintaining a link to Fon could boost the new brand, using the reputation built over the years as a solid foundation for growth, at the same time the new name will help us in being perceived a tech-savvy company,” said María Rodríguez, Director of Marketing, Communication & Design of Fon.

If the wifi world wasn’t exciting enough, this announcement must have hit you like a ton of bricks. We can only compare to such events as Joanne Clifton winning Strictly Come Dancing, Ed Milliband choosing brown sauce instead of ketchup for his bacon sandwich or Bono supporting another charity.