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MWC 2023: HPE boosts enterprise wireless offer with Athonet acquisition

Acquisition aims to strengthen global edge-to-cloud company’s private networking capabilities to help enterprise customers accelerate 5G deployments and telco customers drive new revenue streams

Doubling down on private 5G, and with the intention of positioning the company at the forefront of a growing market – predicted by analyst IDC to increase to more than $1.6bn by 2026 – Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced the expansion of its connected edge-to-cloud offering with the acquisition of private cellular network technology provider Athonet.

Based in Vicenza, Italy, Athonet has more than 15 years’ experience of delivering 4G and 5G mobile core solutions to enterprises and communication service providers globally. Athonet boasts more than 450 successful customer deployments in various industries, including leading mobile operators, hospitals, airports, transportation ports, utilities, government and public safety organisations.

Explaining the need for the acquisition, HPE noted that with enterprises facing complex connectivity challenges across large and remote sites, private 5G offers high levels of coverage, reliability and mobility across campus and industrial environments. It also augments the cost-effective, high-capacity connectivity provided by Wi-Fi. The incorporation of Athonet’s technology will allow HPE to deliver private networking capabilities directly to enterprises as part of HPE’s Aruba networking portfolio, while also enabling communications service providers (CSPs) to quickly deploy private 5G networks for their customers.

“Telco customers are looking for simpler ways to deploy private 5G networks to meet growing customer expectations at the connected edge,” said Tom Craig, global vice-president and general manager, communications technology group, at HPE.

“At the same time, enterprise customers are demanding a customised 5G experience with low-latency, segregated resources, extended range and security across campus, and industrial environments that complement their existing wireless networks,” he added. “With the acquisition of Athonet, HPE now has one of the most complete private 5G and Wi-Fi portfolios for CSP and enterprise customers – and we will offer it as a service through HPE GreenLake.”

The deal should see HPE integrate Athonet’s technology into its own existing enterprise offerings and that of its Aruba networking division, to create a private networking portfolio that accelerates digital transformation from edge to cloud.

“With the acquisition of Athonet, HPE now has one of the most complete private 5G and Wi-Fi portfolios for CSP and enterprise customers – and we will offer it as a service through HPE GreenLake”
Tom Craig, HPE

HPE believes the new networking portfolio will provide enhanced private networks that combine the high capacity of Wi-Fi with the coverage and mobility of 5G with accelerated 5G deployments that improve agility and innovation to help telco B2B teams and enterprise customers. It will also offer alignment of costs to revenues with consumption-based models for enterprises through HPE GreenLake, reducing the risk of entering new markets.

The company also sees private 5G as offering enterprises new capabilities that are ultra-secure, easy to deploy and manage, and ready for highly specialised applications such as robotics and industrial internet of things, data networks and pipelines, and security systems facilitation.

The acquisition of Athonet is also regarded as strengthening Aruba’s connected edge portfolio, providing what HPE described as the unique and highly sought after ability to deliver fully integrated Wi-Fi and private 5G networks. Integration with Aruba Central will enable network managers to administer Wi-Fi and private 5G through a single pane of glass and bring to bear the power of artificial intelligence-powered insights, workflow automation and robust security.

“Athonet was founded to provide customers with private 4G and 5G solutions that deliver carrier-grade reliability and performance to suit their increasing and more challenging connectivity needs,” said Gianluca Verin, CEO and co-founder of Athonet.

“We are excited to join HPE and combine our highly skilled teams as we expand our joint service provider offerings for the rapidly growing private 5G market and build on HPE’s strategy to be the leading edge-to-cloud solutions provider,” added Verin.

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