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Spidercloud gains first big win with Vodafone

Operator's Dutch arm will deploy the start-up's Enterprise-RAN for corporate small cell contracts, others should follow

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 19 September, 2013

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Spidercloud Wireless, the start-up which has pioneered 'Enterprise RAN' platforms for indoor small cell networks, has scored its first commercial operator deal with Vodafone Netherlands.

The initial public real world deal is always a breakthrough moment for a company seeking to promote a new architecture, though it comes as no surprise that Vodafone should back the technology. It has helped to incubate Spidercloud and has run trials of the E-RAN systems. In February, the two companies offered some details of their collaboration, saying that the operator "helped assess the commercial need for the solution, provided laboratory facilities and helped run both technical and field trials" including some in UK enterprises.


Spidercloud claims it will soon announce further customers, with deals in the US and Latin America likely to be made public in the next six months. Earlier this year it said it was engaged in more than 10 market trials, many via its key infrastructure partner, Japan's NEC.

"We can now, more rapidly than ever, address the needs of thousands of enterprise customers who rely on mobile connectivity and services for business productivity," said Marcel van den Biggelaar, head of technology strategy at Vodafone Netherlands. "Previously we were restricted by the cost and time it took to install legacy in-building wireless systems or the lack of scalability of first generation small cells."

By establishing central control and self-organizing network (SON) capabilities within the enterprise, the Spidercloud system claims to support broader coverage than conventional small cells; and lower cost, more easily deployable capacity than another established option, DAS (Distributed Antenna System). It also boasts of its scalability - up to 100 radio nodes can be supported by one central services platform linked to the operator's network, and the system can handle over 100,000 data sessions and hand-offs a day.

SpiderCloud has raised $105m in venture capital from Charles River Ventures, Matrix Partners, Opus Capital and Shasta Ventures but faces tough battles ahead as giants like Cisco get serious about the enterprise small cell space.

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