MWC 2023: HPE Shrewdly Acquires Athonet to Bolster Overall Private 5G Fortunes

The News: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced the expansion of its connected edge-to-cloud offering with the acquisition of Athonet, a private cellular network technology provider that delivers mobile core networks to enterprises and communication service providers (CSPs). Read the HPE Press Release here.

MWC 2023: HPE Shrewdly Acquires Athonet to Bolster Overall Private 5G Fortunes

Analyst Take: HPE deftly acquires private cellular network specialist Athonet in the drum up to MWC 2023. Now HPE is positioned to combine Aruba+Athonet capabilities to deliver unified private 5G and WiFi solutions, offering high levels of coverage, reliability and mobility across campus and industrial environments. The integration of Athonet’s technology can enable HPE to deliver private network capabilities directly to enterprises as part of HPE’s Aruba networking portfolio, while also powering CSP managed private 5G networks and services aimed at businesses.

From my view, HPE scores a sales and marketing triumph with the Athonet deal, shining a spotlight on its overall private 5G offering. HPE lands Athonet’s vast experience in providing 4G and 5G mobile core solutions to customers and partners worldwide with more than 450 customer deployments across multiple verticals such as mobile operators, hospitals, airports, transportation ports, utilities, government, and public safety organizations.

In particular, I expect that Athonet Starter Kits can help boost HPE’s 5G Standalone (SA) and Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) portfolio credentials as well as broaden and accelerate enterprise/CSP consideration and adoption of HPE’s 5G private wireless proposition. I believe HPE can make positive contributions in areas such as enabling dynamic sharing for generally authorized access (GAA) users of CBRS spectrum, assisting coexistence of spectrum with technologies such as WiFi to avoid service outages. Also, Athonet’s relations with radio, technology, and channel specialists should aid HPE’s objective of broadening private wireless implementations across the 5G ecosystem.

HPE plans to integrate Athonet technology into its existing CSP and Aruba networking enterprise solutions that can deliver innovative edge-to-cloud benefits such as enhanced private networks through tight WiFi integration, acceleration of of private 5G deployments, diversification of enterprise revenue streams for telcos, alignment of costs to revenues using consumption-based models, and automated management of operational complexity and cost efficiency.

I see HPE gaining competitive advantages by integrating Athonet assets into the Aruba Central platform which can enable network managers to use AI-powered insights, workflow automation, and multi-domain security that can unify their administration of private 5G and WiFi. This fulfills a major pain point for many organizations in their goal to optimally combine both their private 5G and WiFi assets while also helping in the acceleration of private 5G network deployments and adoption.

Plus, HPE GreenLake provides the backing of a proven edge-to-cloud platform in simplifying all costs for private 5G and WiFi into one subscription (i.e., monthly) while also minimizing or eliminating costly capital expenditures. From my perspective, enterprises are increasing their demand for flexible consumption models to avoid steep upfront costs and scale precisely according to their needs, creating more target opportunities for CSPs with advanced managed services that can cohesively blend private 5G and WiFi.

HPE indicates it expects to close the transaction at the beginning of the third quarter, aiding the process of integrating Athonet solution into its own telco software portfolio as well as the Aruba networking portfolio. I believe HPE now has the unified private 5G/WiFi portfolio key to catalyzing private 5G wireless uptake by enterprises and CSPs and can disrupt the 5G wireless competitive landscape to its advantage.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

The 5G Factor: AT&T and Northrop Grumman, Intel Lockheed, DOD $600M for 5G Testbeds, HPE RAN Automation, Mavenir and Aspire, Qualcomm and O-RAN, Cisco and Verizon

HPE Dazzles with Host of New HPE GreenLake Capabilities and Partnerships

MWC 2022: Qualcomm and HPE Prep Virtual Distributed Units for 5G Prime Time

Author Information

Ron is an experienced, customer-focused research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets, working with businesses to drive consistent revenue and sales growth.

He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including a wide range of topics across software and services, infrastructure, 5G communications, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.

Prior to his work with The Futurum Group, Ron worked with GlobalData Technology creating syndicated and custom research across a wide variety of technical fields. His work with Current Analysis focused on the broadband and service provider infrastructure markets.

Ron holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from University of Nevada — Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts in political science/government from William and Mary.


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