April 8, 2015 — Defense giant Cobham, which bought Axell Wireless in 2013 and Aeroflex in 2014, has brought the two companies together to form Cobham Wireless. The new company will be headed by Senior Vice President Ian Langley and will be integrated into Cobham’s Communications and Connectivity sector. Axell Wireless founder and CEO Ian Brown left the company last fall. We posed some questions to Langley to get an update.
AGL Small Cell Link: How does a close relationship with a test and measurement company positively impact your business? What are the synergies?
Langley: Cobham Wireless combines the expertise of Axell Wireless and the test and measurement division of Aeroflex to create new markets and opportunities for Axell’s DAS products. Both brands have complementary technologies and, by operating together, Cobham Wireless can provide a greater range of products to existing customers and increase the market potential of each product family.
AGL Small Cell Link: What will happen to the Axell Wireless name?
Langley: For the time being Axell Wireless will continue to operate under its own brand name, but will become fully integrated as part of Cobham Wireless in July 2015. Products will be rebranded as Cobham Wireless over the coming year, in line with the general rebranding strategy for both Axell and Aeroflex.
AGL Small Cell Link: It has been a year and a half since Cobham purchased Axell Wireless. How has their ownership changed your company? What doors is it opening for your operation?
Langley: The past 18 months have been focused on consolidating the strengths and portfolios of the companies which now make up Cobham Wireless. The integration has been positive and successful so far. Being part of the Cobham family provides both security and investment. Cobham’s proven ability to invest in customer support services, as well as in product R&D, will enhance customer confidence in Axell, allow Cobham Wireless to provide innovative new DAS products and increase market share.
AGL Small Cell Link: Are you selling your DAS to Cobham’s military customers? Does it increase your exposure to the public safety market? Or are there other new markets you are entering?
Langley: The acquisition of Axell Wireless and its DAS product portfolio adds a new dimension to Cobham’s offering, and opens the way to exciting new markets in both the commercial and public service sectors.
While there are no immediate plans to target the defense sector with DAS products, it is impossible to see into the future. At present, the key markets for Axell’s DAS product portfolio remain the same: commercial and public indoor spaces, including office and multipurpose complexes, stadia, airports, and public sector organizations that require cellular coverage and public safety provision.
Public safety coverage has always been one of the key use cases of DAS and Cobham Wireless will continue to focus on this sector to further enhance its already strong market position.
AGL Small Cell Link: It has been nine months since you introduced intelligent digital DAS. How has that been received? Can you tell me what are some of the deployments?
Langley: idDAS, the next generation, intelligent version of DAS, has been received well by customers thus far. The new technology enables the DAS product to react dynamically to network demands, saving operators time and money. idDAS also allows operators to channel coverage where it is needed most, improving overall customer satisfaction and driving sales.
Unfortunately, we are currently unable to discuss specific deployments.
AGL Small Cell Link: A lot of people see small cells competing with DAS for low-cost in-building systems. Are you thinking about developing a small cell system or is the answer making DAS less expensive? Or is there another evolutionary step for DAS?
Langley: DAS provides a very efficient solution for operators looking for cost-effective in-building systems. One of the key advantages of DAS is that the solution can be multi-operator, reducing the overall cost of indoor coverage provision, compared to small cells which are a single operator solution.
Operators can also experience significant OPEX and CAPEX savings by deploying intelligent DAS systems in multi-use venues. By redistributing capacity to where it is needed, rather than having to ‘hardwire’ coverage into every sector, the amount of money wasted providing underused capacity is vastly reduced.
idDAS operates with all current wireless technologies and is completely future proof.