Ericsson To Acquire Carrier Wi-Fi Vendor BelAir

Ericsson plans to acquire privately held Wi-Fi equipment provider BelAir Networks, whose customers include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, Bright House Networks and AT&T.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Through the deal, Ericsson said, it will acquire a "strong carrier-grade Wi-Fi portfolio," as well as technological expertise, intellectual property and established customer contracts and relationships.

Ericsson's acquisition of BelAir, which is based in Kanata, Ontario, Canada, is expected to close during the first half of 2012, subject to customary closing conditions.

In September 2011, Ericsson launched a Network Integrated Wi-Fi solution, aimed at service providers. The BelAir portfolio will become part of Ericsson's heterogeneous network ("hetnet") strategy and thereby "accelerate the integration of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies," according to Ericsson.

BelAir, founded in 2002, has approximately 120 employees, who are expected to join Ericsson's global organization.

"Ericsson will lead the way in the growing converged Wi-Fi and cellular market where improved end-user experience is the driving force," Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement. "By integrating BelAir Networks' market-leading products and competence into Ericsson's existing radio portfolio, we will be able to do this more quickly."

Last year, Motorola Mobility signed a deal with BelAir for the exclusive rights to market and sell BelAir's Wi-Fi access solutions to cable operators worldwide, although BelAir retained its direct relationships with Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision.

"By focusing on the needs of leading service providers, BelAir Networks has achieved industry leadership with our unique portfolio of carrier-grade Wi-Fi," BelAir CEO Bernard Herscovich said in a statement. "This transaction is a natural step in the continued development of BelAir Networks and we believe that Ericsson presents a strategic and cultural fit."