Ericsson Accelerates 5G for Enterprise with Acquisition of Cradlepoint

Sept. 17, 2020 — Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) has agreed to acquire Cradlepoint, the US-based market leader in Wireless Edge WAN 4G and 5G Enterprise solutions. The investment is key to Ericsson’s ongoing strategy of capturing market share in the rapidly expanding 5G Enterprise space. Cradlepoint complements Ericsson’s existing 5G Enterprise portfolio which includes Dedicated Networks and a global IoT platform.

The combined offering will create valuable new revenue streams for customers by supporting full 5G-enabled services for enterprise, and boost returns on investments in the network.

Cradlepoint will become a fully owned subsidiary of Ericsson while continuing to operate under its existing brand. Cradlepoint employees will remain within the company, headquartered in Boise, Idaho. It will be part of Ericsson’s Business Area Technologies & New Businesses.

The acquisition price amounts to an enterprise value of USD 1.1 b. with the transaction expected to close before the end of Q4 2020, subject to closing conditions. The purchase price, which is funded from Ericsson’s cash-in-hand, is paid in full on closing. Cradlepoint’s sales for 2019 were SEK 1.2 b. with a gross margin of 61%. Ericsson’s operating margins are expected to be negatively impacted by approximately 1% in 2021 and 2022 – where half is related to amortization of intangible assets which arise from the acquisition. Cradlepoint is expected to contribute to operating cash-flow starting in 2022. Ericsson’s 2022 group financial targets remain unchanged.

Wireless wide area network (wireless WAN) Edge solutions connect through 4G and 5G to deliver fast, secure, and flexible connectivity wherever and whenever it is needed for businesses, mobility and critical frontline emergency services. Cradlepoint is strongly positioned in a market with underlying growth of 25-30%.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO Ericsson, says: “Portfolio-near acquisitions are an integral part of our earlier communicated strategy. The acquisition of Cradlepoint complements our existing offerings and is key to our strategy of helping customers grow the value of their 5G network investments. Ericsson is uniquely positioned to build on Cradlepoint’s leadership position in Wireless Edge and the wireless WAN market. Combining the scale of our market access and established relationships with the world’s biggest mobile operators we are making a strong investment to support our customers to grow in this exciting market. I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all Cradlepoint employees.”

George Mulhern, CEO and Chairman, Cradlepoint says: “We have led the way in bringing the power of cellular networks and technologies to enterprise and public sector customers – helping them connect beyond the limits of traditional wired WANs. Ericsson with its global 5G leadership is a great match for us and I am very excited to continue to scale and expand our business together.”

Founded in 2006, Cradlepoint has more than 650 employees, providing wireless WAN solutions that deliver enterprise-grade connectivity. In addition to the company headquarters in Boise, Idaho, USA, the company operates a research and development center in Silicon Valley, California, and new market offices in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Cradlepoint’s subscription model combines cloud-delivered software with hardware endpoints, support and training.

Ericsson’s long-standing collaboration with Cradlepoint dates back to the launch of 4G in the U.S. market more than a decade ago.

Invitation to Media and Analyst Call

The company will hold a conference call for journalists, financial analysts and investors. Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Carl Mellander, Chief Financial Officer, and Åsa Tamsons, Head of Business Area Technologies & New Businesses, will make brief comments and take questions.

The conference call will begin September 18, at 9:00 AM CEST (8:00 AM GMT in London and 3:00 AM EST in New York).

To join the conference call, please phone one of the following numbers:

Sweden: +46 (0)8 566 42651 (Toll-free Sweden: 0200 883 685)

International/UK: +44 (0)333 300 0804 (Toll-free International/UK: 0800 358 9473)

US: +1 631 913 1422 (Toll-free US: +1 855 857 0686)

PIN code: 38166079#

A live audio webcast of the conference call will be available at www.ericsson.com/investors and www.ericsson.com/newsroom

REPLAY:

A replay of the conference call will be available from about one hour after the conference call has ended until September 24, 2020.

Sweden replay number: +46 (0) 8 519 993 85

International/UK replay number: +44 (0) 333 300 0819

US replay number:  +1 (866) 931 1566

PIN code replay: 301331532#

An on-demand webcast will be available at www.ericsson.com/investors and www.ericsson.com/newsroom approximately one hour after the webcast ended.

For Further Information, Please Contact:

Peter Nyquist, Head of Investor Relations
Phone: +46 705 75 29 06
E-mail: peter.nyquist@ericsson.com

Additional contact

Stella Medlicott, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Relations
Phone: +46 730 95 65 39
E-mail: media.relations@ericsson.com

Investors

Stefan Jelvin, Director, Investor Relations
Phone: +46 709 86 02 27
E-mail: stefan.jelvin@ericsson.com

Media

Peter Olofsson, Head of Corporate Communications
Phone: +46 702 67 34 45
E-mail: media.relations@ericsson.com

Corporate Communications
Phone: +46 10 719 69 92
E-mail: media.relations@ericsson.com

About Ericsson

Ericsson enables communications service providers to capture the full value of connectivity. The company’s portfolio spans Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services, and Emerging Business and is designed to help our customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams. Ericsson’s investments in innovation have delivered the benefits of telephony and mobile broadband to billions of people around the world. The Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on Nasdaq New York. www.ericsson.com

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This release includes forward-looking statements, including statements reflecting management’s current views relating to the growth of the market, future market conditions, future events, financial condition, and expected operational and financial performance, including, in particular the following:

– Our goals, strategies, planning assumptions and operational or financial performance expectations

– Industry trends, future characteristics and development of the markets in which we operate

– Our future liquidity, capital resources, capital expenditures, cost savings and profitability

– The expected demand for our existing and new products and services as well as plans to launch new products and services including research and development expenditures

– The ability to deliver on future plans and to realize potential for future growth

– The expected operational or financial performance of strategic cooperation activities and joint ventures

– The time until acquired entities and businesses will be integrated and accretive to income

– Technology and industry trends including the regulatory and standardization environment in which we operate, competition and our customer structure.

The words “believe,” “expect,” “foresee,” “anticipate,” “assume,” “intend,” “likely,” “projects,” “may,” “could,” “plan,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “will,” “should,” “would,” “predict,” “aim,” “ambition,” “seek,” “potential,” “target,” “might,” “continue,” or, in each case, their negative or variations, and similar words or expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements. Any statement that refers to expectations, projections or other characterizations of future events or circumstances, including any underlying assumptions, are forward-looking statements.

We caution investors that these statements are subject to risks and uncertainties many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond our control that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements.

Important factors that could affect whether and to what extent any of our forward-looking statements materialize include, but are not limited to, the factors described in the section “Risk Factors” in the latest interim report, and in “Risk Factors” in the Annual Report 2019.

These forward-looking statements also represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date that they were made. We expressly disclaim a duty to provide updates to these forward-looking statements, and the estimates and assumptions associated with them, after the date of this release, to reflect events or changes in circumstances or changes in expectations or the occurrence of anticipated events, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law or stock exchange regulations.

This information is information that Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above at 07:30 CEST on September 18, 2020.

Cradlepoint Media Inquiries

HOLLY LANGBEIN
Highwire PR
+1 (916) 769-2199
press@cradlepoint.com


Software-Defining the Pathway to 5G: How Cradlepoint Transformed Its Business Model (Twice!) to Revolutionize How Businesses Connect

Cellular connectivity has come a long way over the past two decades and today cellular coverage allows for an always-on world, connected by voice, text, apps, and the internet.  Mobile data usage has exploded, up 73x in the U.S. from 2010 to 2018.  There are now more mobile devices in use in the U.S. than citizens.  Almost 40% of the entire global population owns a smartphone, which are only a little over a decade old.  The disruption from a wired to wireless world has transformed the global economy. 

Different than consumers, businesses have been slower to adopt cellular for primary internet connectivity in their offices given historic cost and reliability concerns However, this is changing quickly with continued improvement in both quality and affordability in cellular service as the world embarks on the pathway to 5G journey. 

Cradlepoint is a market leading innovator helping businesses move from a wired to wireless world powered by next generation LTE and 5G networks, utilizing Cradlepoint’s software-defined wireless products to connect people, places, and things with enterprise-class visibility, security, and control. 

In today’s podcast, Board members Matt Robinson and Doug Gilstrap from TCV explore Cradlepoint’s growth journey with CEO George Mulhern, as he talks through the opportunities, tough decisions, and lessons learned to become the global leader in cellular connectivity for business.

For these insights and more, settle back and press play.

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The views and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”). TCV has not verified the accuracy of any statements by the speakers and disclaims any responsibility therefor. This blog post is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed. The TCV portfolio companies identified above, if any, are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments, and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit www.tcv.com/all-companies/. For additional important disclaimers regarding this document, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/.


10X: What 5G Means for Consumers and Enterprises

Depending on where you look, the number of connected devices, or ‘things’, out there is now in the region of 8.4 billion.  That’s a large number, but it’s barely the start.  By 2020, Gartner expects this total to jump to over 20 billion.

Importantly, this staggeringly fast growth of connectivity for consumer and enterprise use cases necessitates a high-performance network infrastructure and services and 5G will help take the industry to this next level.

In an era where just about everything will be connected—from the familiar smartphone to the connected robot, car or enhanced media distribution—there is a demand to share more wireless data.

3G arrived at the millennium, bringing us a major step forward in wireless connectivity speed. It offered connection speeds of around 380Kbps. The arrival of 4G networks built on that to deliver up to 100Mbps—the performance level many of us are familiar with today.

Even though 5G will be 10 times as fast, it won’t replace 4G in the same way that 2G (and gradually 3G) have been superseded since 4G’s arrival. 5G and 4G will work in complementary fashion to handle different types of traffic most efficiently. 5G remains in a technical trial stage as the standards for mobility and network interoperability continues being developed. Early commercial deployment is expected to start in late 2018. Yet, once the standards are set, there’s no turning back – 5G will be a catalyst for new applications and new opportunities that are just waiting to be imagined.

At the leading edge of this industry is Cradlepoint, an international market leader providing wired and wireless connectivity and networking solutions for distributed and mobile enterprises. Founded in 2006, the company has been at the forefront of providing 3G and LTE networking solutions for enterprises.  The company was first to market with LTE routing solutions. It now has 18,000 customers worldwide and has shipped more than 1.7 million cellular routing platforms.

In a recent conversation, Cradlepoint CEO George Mulhern explored the 5G opportunity with TCV Venture Partner Doug Gilstrap, an IT veteran and the former CSO of Ericsson.

 

Doug Gilstrap: If we believe everything we hear about 5G, it’s all expected to really start happening in 2018. Is that hype or hope?

George Mulhern:  The technical trials are underway as we speak.  The commercial production testing will start in 2018. There are already many 5G trials taking place around the world and 5G-ready base stations have been deployed by the major vendors. They’re already using some of the new spectrum for 5G both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, and the expectation is that it will be commercialized in 2019 and 2020.

Doug Gilstrap: When (and how) does 5G displace 4G? When will it be the new norm?

George Mulhern:  5G and existing LTE technologies are going to coexist for quite a while.

We’ll start to see some limited early deployments in 2018, and it’ll grow from there—but it’s not going to completely displace 4G.  In fact, some of the early deployments will be based on the LTE core—so they’ll coexist. That’s going to be important for customers because they’re looking for a transition.

It’s not going to be a light switch moment where they wake up one morning and 5G is everywhere. It’s going to be expanding over the next two, three, four years. It’ll be a significant improvement to the wireless capabilities as it gets rolled out.

Doug Gilstrap: Whats 5Gs selling point? What benefits can 5G adopters expect?

George Mulhern: Efficiency. We see 5G offering significant cost savings to operators and end users.

Our customers with many sites, branch locations and IoT needs (buses, police cars etc.), can expect better performance with advances towards 5G. This means no lead time to connect and wait for broadband digs, so any new high-speed broadband connectivity can be met instantly.

Also, with 4G Advance and 5G inter-workings, some of our enterprise customers will have better performance compared to the existing fixed line infrastructure in place today.

For customers with massive amounts of logistics and transportation needs, the new 4G/5G data plan charges plus our hardware and software solution makes the implementation, the monitoring, and the usage tracking affordable. And the productivity gains will be impactful. This technology will be price competitive and offer a variety of physical and logical diversity for all our clients.

We’re seeing the operators charging hard into the mobile enterprise space as the next wave of market opportunity, and we are here, hand in hand with our solutions to help make it happen.

 

Doug Gilstrap: Is everything going to be wireless with 5G?

George Mulhern: Because of the 10X performance improvement, 10X latency improvement and capacity improvement, 5G is going to be a tremendous technology. It’ll be a dominant last mile technology, but I don’t think the wires are going to go away entirely.

It’s like when email first hit, and people predicted the post office would disappear. Email opened the way for a whole host of new applications and capabilities, but didn’t completely displace the older technology, although its role in communications has been significantly diminished.

Any time you get something as flexible as wireless that provides the kind of performance and capabilities people need, I think they’re going to naturally migrate towards that. It happened on the LAN with Wi-Fi. It’s happened in the Personal Area Network with Bluetooth. And it will happen on the WAN as well. I would bet Doug’s paycheck on it…

Doug Gilstrap: Thanks…! Do you expect there’ll be a different take-up in different countries, unlike 4G?

George Mulhern:  The race to 5G is full on right now.  It is likely that many of the same countries who led the way to 4G/LTE will be early to the 5G market.  Carriers in the United States, Korea and certain countries in Europe were early movers in LTE and are investing very heavily in 5G right now.  Japan is also investing heavily in 5G and plans to have the network built out when they host the Olympics in 2020.

5G is very important to the carriers/operators because it opens up a much broader set of applications and markets to them.  The mobile phone market has been a tremendous growth opportunity on the consumer side and especially the evolution to mobile broadband (3G+/4G), but it is saturated, and the operators are now really focused on growth in the wireless side for the enterprise.  Examples include fixed wireless access to the enterprise, which is core to Cradlepoint, and we look to provide solutions for growth in other areas as well.  5G will provide opportunities in Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) for enterprise and residential (video), Internet of Things applications, autonomous vehicles, etc. That hits home for companies like Cradlepoint who can help deliver these new applications and services to the end customer.

George Mulhern: Now, let me ask you, who do you think will benefit the most, consumers or the enterprise—and what industries will be early adopters?

Doug Gilstrap: I think both enterprise and consumers are going to benefit tremendously from this battle among carriers to get solutions to market first.  We have seen the industry pull in their timelines for 5G from what they were, and they’re currently selling 5G-ready radios and are in 5G trials with many of the largest operators.  We’ll see the commercial first movers with the device versions in the latter half of 2018.

For the enterprise specifically, there are a lot of use cases that will need lots of bandwidth, so operators are utilizing different options across the 5G spectrum such as 3.5 gigahertz and 28 gigahertz because more capacity is needed to meet enterprise needs—and not just speed, it’s throughput as well.

Think of mission-critical applications for the enterprise, where there’s a lot of imaging needs and where a lot of data throughput has to be in real time with no jitter because people are using that data to make decisions. Or think of the oil and gas or utility industries which have remote diagnostics and imaging requirements.

There’s also healthcare where imaging and X-rays need to be shared because professionals are doing their work remotely. It will also be massive for video distribution to the enterprise or to the consumer residential markets. These require high-end bandwidth and low latency for quality of service. Any mission-critical application that requires that fits 5G very well.

On the horizon are consumer applications such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and the autonomous car. If you consider all the sensors and the data transmission that has to go back and forth—from the speed of the car to the cars on the road and changing road conditions—there’s so much going on. It’s low latency and high throughput.

 

Doug Gilstrap: How should enterprises think about preparing for the deployment and adoption of 5G? What are best practices and pitfalls to avoid?

George Mulhern:  My advice for enterprises preparing for 5G would be: Don’t wait.

Start incorporating LTE into your organizations now. With gigabit LTE commercially available on multiple operator networks, you can get much of that performance already. In the digital economy, it’s the companies that can move with speed, agility and gain insight that will succeed. Incorporating wireless into their business today not only prepares them for 5G, but they’ll start to reap some of those benefits much earlier than their competitors.

Doug Gilstrap: How do businesses really take advantage of LTE and 5G? Because it’s not easy. You can’t just say, “Oh, I’m going to implement 5G, and we’re ready to go.” It’s gigabit LTE as well.

George Mulhern: Each customer has their own priorities and strategic goals. We have customers today using LTE as their only WAN source for their branch offices.  Others are using it for temporary networks (a pop-up store for example), or air-gapped networks for security reasons.  Smart City applications like connecting traffic lights, Wi-Fi in businesses, connected police cars, digital signage, surveillance cameras, kiosks, the list of “things” being connected now is endless.

What’s ideal for retail and transportation can be different than what’s needed in the public sector or in financial services, however high speed, secure mobile access fits in with each of these verticals.

It is our view that this next generation of edge networks need to be much more agile and flexible. They need to be able to expand, contract, and incorporate new applications as business needs dictate.  We call it the Elastic Edge.  These networks will be Software-Defined, Cloud Orchestrated, Wireless and much of the time delivered as a service to the customer. Therefore, 5G will be a game changer in terms of flexibility, agility, performance, and cost.

Doug Gilstrap: George, what’s the fastest chipset that you will have in your routers from a theoretical chipset speeds standpoint for 4G advanced next year?

George Mulhern: Today we know that there are many operators that have commercially launched LTE Advanced 1 Gigabit services and our solutions will support this gigabit speed.  As 5G moves above the 1 Gigabit level to 10 Gigabits, so will we, supporting gigabit speeds on our platform in 2018, as those networks become available to the enterprise.

Our goal will always be that our solutions will be able to operate as fast as the networks will support.

 

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TCV is an investor in Cradlepoint and Doug Gilstrap serves on the board of directors of the company.

The views and opinions expressed in the transcript above are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”).  This transcript is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed.  The TCV portfolio companies identified above, if any, are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments, and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visitwww.tcv.com/all-companies/.  For additional important disclaimers regarding this document, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/