Redzone Wireless this week said it’s chatting up potential partners as part of a bid to expand its fixed wireless technology across the country.
The move comes just a few months after the company launched what it billed as fixed wireless 5G service on 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum in Maine. Redzone initially deployed the service – which uses licensed assisted access (LAA) technology – to 50,000 households across 10 markets in that state, with plans to cover its entire Maine footprint of 250,000 households by the end of this year. But the company is now looking to expand on a grander scale.
“Redzone has identified a significant market opportunity to partner with both regional and national technology and telecommunications companies to build on our fixed wireless expertise, spectrum portfolio and network assets to extend our broadband delivery services further in Maine and across the country,” Redzone President Jim McKenna said in a statement. “We are actively exploring a number of possible strategic partnership models to support our expansion plans.”
Redzone Vice President Michael Forcillo told Wireless Week the comapny is discussing potential collaborations with both national wireless providers as well as regional wireline broadband providers mainly in the Northeast, Midwest, and other underserved rural areas. Forcillo declined to provide specifics about who Redzone is currently in talks with. However, he noted there are both “obvious” potential partners with closely aligned assets as well as other parties that are perhaps less aligned but which could gain an economic advantage by using Redzone’s technology.
“We think of it as a puzzle piece that fits into different companies’ puzzles in different ways, so the value proposition is different depending on the company we’re talking to. But we think the value proposition and business case are evident for both (wireless and more traditional wireline telcos),” Forcillo explained. “We’re having a lot of different conversations on different business models that would make sense for us to grow.”
Forcillo emphasized that Redzone’s fixed wireless technology could be key in helping close the digital divide in rural and remote areas. The company, he said, provides a cost-efficient, “here and now solution” in an industry where the discussion is focused on technologies that can be five years away or more. And when it comes to the next generation specs on everyone’s lips, Forcillo pointed out it’s “not clear there’s a component of 5G that will really serve rural environments” anyway. The technology, he said, seems geared more toward urban and suburban deployments where the population density could support CapEx costs for dense buildouts. Redzone’s technology could fill that gap, he said.
Forcillo was hesitant to give a timeline for partnership announcements given a wide variety of variables in the talks, but said Redzone is hopeful it will have more news to share by the end of this calendar year.