Ericsson completes BelAir acquisition in cellular roots return

Ericsson has completed its 100 percent share acquisition of BelAir networks, adding carrier-grade Wi-Fi capabilities to its cellular network.

Ericsson has completed its acquisition of BelAir Networks, with the company falling under the Ericsson brand effective today.

Carrier-grade Wi-Fi company BelAir Networks was bought out by the Swedish cellular giant last month. It creates indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi systems for cellular networks, allowing people to access the Web without a physical coupling to the network.

The deal closes today. No cash was exchanged, under the agreement that 100 percent of BelAir's shares would be acquired by Ericsson. It also acquires a massive customer base, giving Ericsson a foot in the Canadian door.

120 employees will make the move under the deal, and will be integrated over the coming months. Ericsson also made it clear it is "committed" to supporting BelAir's former customer networks.

Since leaving the mobile handset sector, Ericsson has been seeking to bolster its position in its native cellular communications market. The deal enables Ericsson to become a leading position to integrate not only BelAir's employee expertise into its existing portfolio of products, but increase its spread across the market by integrating Wi-Fi with cellular technology.

The Sony Ericsson joint venture lost $316 million for its Q4 2011 and final ever quarter in January; a surprise loss in what analysts thought would report a modest profit. Tough competition and poor economic conditions in the wake of the Thai floods were said to be the causes of the drop in profit.

Since the Sony and Ericsson split, where by Sony acquired Ericsson's stake in the joint venture for $1.5 billion in cash and making the handset division a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony, Ericsson has gone back to its roots in wireless communications equipment and services for businesses and the enterprise.

It's not as though Ericsson is struggling, though. The company claims to support 2 billion customers around the world, with 40 percent of the world's traffic flowing through its network. Leaving behind the Sony Ericsson joint venture could lead to bigger and better things for the cellular giant.



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