Parallel Wireless cuts staff, cites pace of open RAN adoption

Nine months ago, things were looking so good at Parallel Wireless that it was talking about beefing up staff, even doubling in size by the end of 2022.

But today, a significant share of the staff at Parallel Wireless are looking for new jobs. The company isn’t saying how many people were laid off, but a source told Light Reading that it could be as many as half of the employee base.

“We are making adjustments to right size given the realities of global economic conditions, Covid supply chain constrained world, and the pace of adoption of open RAN," said Parallel Wireless CEO Steve Papa in a statement provided to Fierce.

Eugina Jordan, who was at Parallel more than eight years and served as marketing director, posted on LinkedIn that she was one of those affected by a “mass layoff” at the company.  

“I personally could not be prouder to have been a part of that industry disruption and innovation. I hope I have the honor of getting to work with this team again someday, but for now, it is on to new things for me and many of us,” Jordan wrote.

Parallel Wireless has been one of the leading vendors in the open Radio Access Network (RAN) movement. The company, founded in 2012, listed on LinkedIn an employee count of 685 as of last September. When Jordan spoke with Fierce at that time, she said the actual number was higher than that. The current employee number listed on the LinkedIn site today is 859.

The company recently moved into new headquarters in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Although Dish Network is building a 5G network in the U.S. based on open RAN and it’s named a long list of vendors helping in that effort, Parallel Wireless is not among them. Parallel as of last year did boast contracts with operators around the globe, such as Millicom, Orange, Vodafone Ireland, Inland Cellular and more.

In April, Parallel was among the companies affected by sanctions imposed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company had a small team based in Russia that was responsible for helping identify mobile operators in the region interested in trialing and deploying open RAN, but those operations were suspended.

Overall, the broader open RAN market appears to be experiencing positive momentum. In May, the Dell’Oro Group said open RAN revenues more than doubled in the first quarter, supported by strong growth in North America and Asia Pacific. The firm went so far as to revise its projections upward, with open RAN revenues now expected to account for 3% to 5% of the global RAN market.