Analysts mull scenarios for Boingo sale - Mobile World Live

Analysts mull scenarios for Boingo sale

25 FEB 2020

Analysts pointed to infrastructure providers and private equity companies as potential buyers of Boingo Wireless, but warned the Wi-Fi and distributed antenna system (DAS) provider would likely be broken up as part of any transaction.

Responding to a report by Bloomberg the US company was exploring a sale, Daryl Schoolar, practice leader of Omdia’s Next Generation Infrastructure team, told Mobile World Live (MWL) Boingo Wireless includes two different businesses: a wholesale division for neutral host network services, including Wi-Fi and DAS; and a retail unit offering direct-to-consumer Wi-Fi access.

While the former would be a suitable addition for an infrastructure provider such as American Tower or Crown Castle, he said those companies would likely spin-off the retail business. Another option would be for “a private equity firm to buy Boingo, break it up, and sell its parts”.

ACG Research principal analyst Chris Nicoll offered MWL a similar view, noting while Boingo Wireless’ network assets would be a good fit for an infrastructure provider, “tower companies are not set up to deal with end-users” associated with a retail operation.

Nicoll also suggested Google could buy the company to supplement its Google Fi MVNO service, noting the addition would help it extend its coverage “without paying the huge overhead of a 5G” or mobile network.

The Bloomberg report came after Boingo Wireless in December 2019 announced plans to cut 16 per cent of its workforce as part of a restructuring effort.

Boingo Wireless is scheduled to report its Q4 2019 earnings on 2 March.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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