Enterprise small cell startup SpiderCloud Wireless announced a win at recovering Pakistan operator Warid Telecom, its first commercial deployment in Asia.
Warid will use SpiderCloud’s kit to provide enterprise and consumer customers with indoor and public space 4G mobile coverage. SpiderCloud’s E-RAN system incorporates 3G, 4G and WiFi technology in an effort to provide a truly multimode small cell offering indoors, and is claimed to have an installation time of “just days”.
A statement from SpiderCloud says the first deployments “are targeted for hundreds of different locations in the major cities of Pakistan”.
Warid has had a chequered history since launch in May 2005. As recently as January 2014 it was reported to be trying to exit the market and it failed to bid in Pakistan’s April 2014 auction of 3G and 4G spectrum that raised more than $1 billion.
As a result, the operator is using its existing 2G spectrum for LTE services, which it officially launched in six cities in the last week of 2014. It plans to invest around $500 million over the next five years, most of which will go on upgrading its network from 2.5G to 4G. The company aims to cover 10 more cities within the next 10 months, and 20 cities in the next 20 months.
The privately-held Abu Dhabi Group (ADG), which wholly-owns Warid, is now fully committed to the operator after scrapping an attempt to sell it last year.
According to GSMA Intelligence, the operator is Pakistan’s fifth largest, with 12.5 million connections (9 per cent market share). With no 3G network, 99 per cent of its connections are using its second-generation network.
Interestingly, Ericsson – a major rival to SpiderCloud’s small cell offering, with its own Radio Dot system – is the LTE radio access network supplier to Warid.
Earlier this month it was reported that the San Jose-headquartered vendor had raised another $20 million in funding, bringing its total raised to date (since 2007) to $125 million.