Qualcomm buys Cellwize to accelerate 5G RAN business

Qualcomm Technologies announced the acquisition of Cellwize Wireless Technologies, a leader in mobile network automation and management to accelerate Qualcomm as a leader in 5G Radio Access Networks (RAN) innovation and adoption.
Qualcomm 5G chipsetCellwize’s 5G network deployment, automation, and management software platform capabilities strengthens Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G infrastructure solutions to fuel the digital transformation of industries, power the connected intelligent edge, and support the growth of the cloud economy.

“The addition of Cellwize’s RAN automation technologies strengthens Qualcomm’s 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,” Durga Malladi, senior vice president and general manager, Cellular Modems & Infrastructure, Qualcomm Technologies, said.

Cellwize has been an acquisition interest by many companies, including Intel, VMware (acquired by Broadcom), and NVIDIA.

“Qualcomm is the best fit for Cellwize, given the synergy between the two companies’ technology portfolios and Qualcomm’s leadership in cellular radio technologies and Open RAN, in particular,” Dimitris Mavrakis, Research Director at global technology intelligence firm ABI Research, said.

Cellwize’s RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC)/Service Management and Orchestration (SMO) solutions are critical components in the development of Open RAN and play a crucial role in managing and orchestrating radio resources across the Radio Unit (RU), the Centralized Unit (CU), and the Distributed Unit (DU).

Cellwize’s solutions are unique because they are created to support truly disaggregated and vendor-agnostic radio infrastructure without compromising compatibility with legacy radio systems. This is an important element because such solutions could enable operators to pick and choose from various RU, DU, and CU suppliers to build differentiated infrastructure in line with the requirements of the network they want to target.

The acquisition of Cellwize and its RIC / SMO solutions will enable Qualcomm to accelerate the adoption of new features brought by the next-generation standards, accelerate operators’ agendas for automating their networks, and make these networks greener.

Qualcomm will benefit from Cellwize’s channels to market, as Cellwize reports its solutions service around 800 million subscribers across many operators, hyperscalers, and OEMs’ infrastructure including Telefonica, Verizon, Orange, Globe, Deutsche Telekom, Google Cloud (through the acquisition of MobiledgeX), HPE, and many others.

ABI Research forecasts that RIC revenue will reach $1.65 billion in 2026, driven by both consumer and enterprise applications and both near-real-time RIC and non-real-time RIC, further driving market interest. In the enterprise space, ABI Research expects near-real-time RIC to dominate, but both flavors of RIC will be even in terms of revenue opportunity in the consumer space.