Qualcomm hooks up with Betacom on private 5G

Betacom and Qualcomm Technologies are getting together to bring private networks to U.S. businesses at a faster pace than the two of them can do separately.

The companies said that mutual customers will benefit from fast, simple deployments that combine the Betacom 5G as a Service (5GSaaS) private network offering and Qualcomm’s ecosystem, which includes Radio Access Network (RAN) and device platforms across a multi-vendor environment.

Betacom uses Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum at 3.5 GHz in the U.S. to deploy private networks for enterprise customers. Qualcomm doesn’t make network infrastructure, but earlier this year it acquired Cellwize, an Israeli company that provides network deployment, automation and management software platform capabilities.

Qualcomm was the one that reached out to Betacom to get the ball rolling on their collaboration, according to Rasmus Hellberg, senior director of Product Management at Qualcomm.

Qualcomm has the expertise and partnerships across a lot of verticals and that’s relevant for private networks, Hellberg said. Qualcomm also brings solutions into its lab for vendors to test and that fosters a multi-vendor environment.  

They’re already working with Teltech Group in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where Teltech, a telecom solutions provider, has a big warehouse facility.

“The secure private network that Betacom deployed and manages for us and the expansive ecosystem that Qualcomm Technologies has assembled lets us know that we will always have the leading-edge technologies available to us and that deployment and management will be fast, easy, and cost-efficient,” said Teltech CEO Lisa Hanlon-Knight in a press release.

Last year, when Qualcomm announced its second-generation 5G RAN platform for small cells, it listed a raft of OEMs and operators using its solution: Airspan, Altiostar, Askey, Baicells, Capgemini Engineering, Foxconn Industrial Internet, Innowireless, Radisys. Rakuten Mobile, Sercomm and Shenzhen GongJin Electronics Co. That list has only grown since then, Hellberg noted.

Working with Qualcomm and its ecosystem of IoT devices gives Betacom the ability to onboard solutions rapidly and get solutions out to market quicker, according to Betacom SVP of Strategy Brian Watkins.

Betacom is a 31-year-old company that has been designing small and large cells, but it was always for wireless carriers. A couple of years ago, the company shifted to support CBRS; it doesn’t make hardware and is fairly agnostic when it comes to devices, Watkins said.

“We want to pick the RAN solutions, the core solution, that really make the most sense for the use case being deployed,” he said.

Qualcomm is introducing Betacom to some vendors it didn’t work with previously and allows it to stay agnostic, he said. “It very rapidly accelerates our time to market,” he said. “We’re very, very excited about this partnership.”

Betacom does a lot of work with airports, which are heavily leaning into private wireless. It’s also into supplying warehouses/logistics and manufacturing industries, with an eye toward getting more involved in the areas of precision agriculture, energy and the U.S. Department of Defense, Watkins said.