Qualcomm boosts 5G radio tech with Cellwize acquisition

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Qualcomm has strengthened its 5G radio ambitions with the acquisition of network automation specialist Cellwize.

The San Diego-based tech giant is a major supplier of mobile processors and wireless components to the industry and plans to integrate Cellwize’s cloud-native multi-vendor radio access network (RAN) automation and management platform into its own 5G portfolio.

Specifically, Qualcomm says the capabilities will accelerate the deployment and simplify the management of public and private 5G, while also enabling the development of intelligent edge networks and applications.

Qualcomm Cellwize

Because 5G networks will be much more complex and support many more users than previous generations of mobile technology, automation is essential if industrial users and mobile operators are to fulfil the full potential of the technology.

Indeed, the scale of many functions are beyond human capability and automation makes it quicker to rollout new services and support features like network slicing. CellWize’s technology supports multiple architectures, including traditional RAN, open RAN, and virtualised RAN (vRAN).

“Global mobile operators and private enterprises are deploying 5G networks at an unprecedented pace across industries with the goal of connecting everyone and everything to the cloud,” said Durga Malladi, general manager of cellular modems and infrastructure, Qualcomm

“The addition of Cellwize’s best-in-class RAN automation technologies strengthens Qualcomm Technologies’ ability to drive the development of the modern 5G network – accelerating Open RAN global adoption, cloud-based cellular infrastructure innovation and 5G private network deployments.”

Industry observers say the integration of Cellwize’s capabilities adds another string to Qualcomm’s bow and increases the appeal of its proposition.

“Cellwize has built a solid reputation and customer base as a bespoke provider of RAN automation and orchestration solutions,” said Richard Webb, director, network infrastructure at analysy firm CCS Insight

“In the disaggregated architecture of a 5G mobile network, these are increasingly important capabilities, in effect being able to ‘put together the jigsaw’ of network elements and functions delivered by multiple providers. The acquisition of Cellwize by Qualcomm makes a lot of sense.

“By acquiring cellwise, Qualcomm has consolidated its position serving both public and private mobile networks. RAN automation and orchestration are vital in large-scale mobile networks and particularly in small cell-focused deployments. They are tools that systems integrators can take advantage of in environments such as private networks.”

Ofir Zemer, who was the chief executive officer of Cellwize and has taken up a new role as vice president of product management at Qualcomm following the acquisition.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.