Boldyn buys Cellnex’s private wireless business for $32M

The network infrastructure provider Boldyn plans to acquire the private networks business unit of European tower company Cellnex for €30 million ($32 million).

The acquisition primarily includes Edzcom, a Finnish-based unit within Cellnex that builds and operates 4G and 5G networks for industrial clients in manufacturing, ports, oil and gas, energy and mining. 

Edzcom says it has done more than 50 private wireless implementations in Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the U.K. Mikko Uusitalo, CEO of Edzcom, stated, "Cellnex has enabled us to expand from the Nordics to the largest countries in Europe. We are excited about the opportunity to continue our rapid growth now under Boldyn Networks."

The analysts at New Street Research led by James Ratzer said today, “Edzcom is the European market leader in edge connectivity specialized in designing, building, and operating private wireless network solutions for enterprise customers. This isn’t a huge deal in the context of Cellnex's financials, but given that Cellnex has been pushing the 'Augmented Tower model' looking at alternative ways to monetize their tower infrastructure through adjacent business models, this disposal would seem to reduce some of that potential longer-term optionality.”

From Boldyn’s perspective, the addition of Edzcom allows it to expand its private wireless business in Europe, where it already works in the U.K.

Boldyn recently brought together a number of companies, including BAI Communications, Mobilitie, Transit Wireless, ZenFi Networks, Signal Point Systems and Vilicom. 

Boldyn in the U.S.

At MWC in Las Vegas in September, Fierce Wireless had a chance to speak with Christos Karmis, Boldyn’s CEO for the U.S. 

Christos Karmis
Christos Karmis (Boldyn)

Karmis said Boldyn operates in four types of businesses:

  1. It does in-building wireless for large public venues. That could be 4G/5G cellular, Wi-Fi and private networks. For instance, it recently won a deal with Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas, to install a multi-carrier distributed antenna system (DAS), a private wireless network using Citizen Broadband Radio Service and Wi-Fi 6E. Karmis said, “Europe is ahead of the U.S. in terms of the evolution of private networks. But we can draw on the experience of the firm, globally.”
  2. It installs wireless for large transportation systems, including for MTA in NYC. And in July it said it was working with AT&T to upgrade the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to 5G.
  3. It deploys outdoor communications equipment such as cell towers, small cells and fiber.
  4. Karmis describes the fourth business as “smart places,” such as the work it’s doing in New York with LinkNYC.

Karmis said LinkNYC “is the largest free Wi-Fi network in the country.” In addition to providing New Yorkers with access to Wi-Fi, the service also helps wireless carriers offload some of their traffic to save capacity on their own networks.

He said New York was particularly well-suited for LinkNYC because it already had a robust fiber network in place.