Company looks to extent its leadership in the neutral host infrastructure and services business.
Neutral Connect Networks recently announced its acquisition of Connectivity Wireless Solutions by way of M/C Partners, Neutral Connect Networks’ leading equity investment firm. M/C Partners acquired Connectivity Wireless Solutions and its subsidiaries, including Simplifi DAS Holdings, with a plan to accelerate growth in the neutral host infrastructure and in-building wireless services business, the companies said in a release.
“These businesses are natural complements to one another and create a combined entity with enhanced scale, industry-leading technical expertise, and the operational capacity to support the growth in this market,” Brian Clark, Managing Partner at M/C Partners said in a statement. “M/C Partners has a long and successful heritage in the wireless industry, and we believe the neutral-host infrastructure and in-building wireless business represents a significant growth opportunity, particularly with the planned deployments of CBRS, private LTE networks and the transition to 5G, which we are keen to participate in.”
Stephen Bye will assume the role of CEO of the newly combined companies. Bye brings more than 27 years of experience working for wireless, cable and wireless service providers both in the United States and abroad. The companies plan to reorganize in the coming weeks in an effort to improve their respective operating efficiencies to create a world-class organization.
“Our team members represent the most important capability we have,” Bye said in a statement. “We will work together to ensure we operate as efficiently as possible to deliver best-in-class solutions and services to our customers, supporting managed Wi-Fi, CBRS, private LTE networks, and the evolution to 5G and beyond.”
The transaction started to come to fruition a few years ago when M/C Partners became interested in the emergence of the neutral host model in commercial real estate buildings and venues. The company made a small investment in Neutral Connect Networks and then after gaining interest in Connectivity Wireless’ operations, acquired it as well.
“(M/P Partners) looked at acquiring the company and then combining it wit what they had with Neutral Connect Network,” Bye told Connected Real Estate Magazine. “That’s when they approached me about coming in said, ‘Okay, let’s consolidate the different components we have and combine them in a way that really takes advantage of the strength of each of the components, so it will give us a great foundation on which to grow the business going forward, too.”
The consolidation means the new company will offer engineering deployment—Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) and in-building systems that Connectivity Wireless will build to set up a solid foundation over the years. The other part of the business the company will have is the third party operated neutral host networks it will operate within those same buildings and venues.
“What we’re doing is combining these different entities, consolidating the assets and the operations into two parts of business,” Bye told Connected. “One will be very focused on engineering design, deployment, construction and operating. The other will be the entity that manages and operates these neutral host systems on behalf of the carriers and landlords.”
The companies will remain focused on serving their customers during the transition—the highest of priorities for both enterprises.
“We care about our customers’ customers,” Bye told Connected Real Estate Magazine. “By focusing on our customers’ customers, you take care of your customer in that process. What we do impacts the customer experience across multiple dimensions, so how we operate those networks, how we work with the carriers to make sure those networks deliver what their customers expect of them is absolutely critical.”
One group of customers the companies are especially interested in serving are real estate developers and landlords, according to Bye. The newly formed company will look to leverage the strong relationship Connectivity has formed within the commercial real estate industry over time.
“(Connectivity Wireless) developed that credibility within the market and that’s the other side of this relationship that we need to manages from a customer perspective as we go forward,” Bye told Connected. “Because they have as much to gain and as much to benefit, perhaps as much to lose, if it isn’t done the right way.”
With M/C Partners behind it as an investor, and Connectivity Wireless’ sterling reputation in the CRE industry, Bye believes Neutral Connect Networks is set up to continue to serve its customers well.
“I’m frankly excited about the pieces that we have and what we’re trying to do is get as organized as we can to take advantage of all the different components that we have in order to be able to execute against that,” Bye said. “I am excited about how we can put together what we already have and take it to a new level. We’re at a very interesting point for the whole industry, and I think we’re well poised to grow with that switch and evolution of the business.”