Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending May 31, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including T-Mobile, CloudFlare, Cisco Systems, Lenovo and CoreWeave, along with all the companies that made this year’s CRN Solution Provider 500.

The Week Ending May 31

Topping this week’s Came to Win is T-Mobile for its $4.4 billion blockbuster deal to acquire U.S. Cellular’s wireless operations and assets.

Also making this week’s list is Cloudflare for its own savvy acquisition that boosts its SASE portfolio. Cisco Systems and Lenovo are here for an alliance to jointly design and engineer integrated products around networking, purpose-built AI infrastructure and generative AI solutions. And cloud AI startup CoreWeave makes the list for its ambitious IPO plans.

And a Came to Win shoutout to all the solution providers who made the CRN 2024 Solution Provider 500 list.

T-Mobile Acquires US Cellular Wireless Operations And Assets In $4.4B Deal

T-Mobile is acquiring nearly all of U.S. Cellular’s wireless operations, customers, stores and specific spectrum assets for $4.4 billion, aiming to put heat on its competitors with lower prices, faster speeds and better 5G performance.

“With this deal T-Mobile can extend the superior Un-carrier value and experiences that we’re famous for to millions of U.S. Cellular customers and deliver them lower-priced, value-packed plans and better connectivity on our best-in-class nationwide 5G network,” said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert in a statement.

Sievert said customers of both companies will get “more coverage and more capacity from our combined footprint, our competitors will be forced to keep up – and even more consumers will benefit.”

Combining U.S. Cellular’s network resources with T-Mobile’s operations will enable T-Mobile “to fill gaps in connectivity that will create a better experience for all of our customers” with more coverage and more capacity, the CEO said.

T-Mobile said its 5G network will be enhanced by U.S. Cellular’s spectrum and tower assets. T-Mobile will buy about 30 percent of U.S. Cellular’s wireless spectrum with plans to boost coverage in rural areas while offering better connectivity to customers across the U.S.

The acquisition comes shortly after T-Mobile completed its $1.35 billion acquisition of Ka’ena, the parent company of Mint Mobile, on May 1.

Cloudflare Acquires Passwordless Startup To Boost SASE Platform

Staying on the topic of strategic acquisitions, Cloudflare this week said its acquisition of passwordless authentication startup BastionZero will enable it to introduce “zero trust” infrastructure access to its secure access service edge (SASE) platform.

Boston-based BastionZero was founded in 2020 by CEO Sharon Goldberg (pictured) and CTO Ethan Heilman — the same year that Cloudflare debuted Cloudflare One, its SASE platform that combines both networking and security capabilities to meet the access needs of distributed organizations.

BastionZero offers technology to enable “simple” passwordless access to IT infrastructure, according to Cloudflare.

The technology will bring zero-trust controls for protecting access to infrastructure — such as servers and Kubernetes clusters as well as modern databases — to the Cloudflare One platform, the company said.

Cisco And Lenovo Ally To Jointly Engineer AI, GenAI Solutions

IT hardware giants Cisco and Lenovo are teaming up to jointly design and engineer integrated products around networking, purpose-built AI infrastructure and generative AI solutions.

The goal is to design solutions to “simplify the path to AI innovation and digital transformation,” said Lenovo’s Kirk Skaugen, executive vice president, and president of Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group, in a statement.

The two companies said they will work hand-in-hand to enhance generative AI solutions for their enterprise customers.

This new memorandum of understanding agreement between the two tech companies will deliver integrated infrastructure solutions and services optimized for interoperability to accelerate customers’ go-to-market initiatives. This includes ensuring customers can buy a completely engineered infrastructure solution from a single technology provider.

Lenovo and Cisco will also integrate Cisco’s Nexus networking ecosystem into Lenovo’s edge-to-cloud portfolio with the goal of providing customers with networking solutions optimized for interoperability within Lenovo infrastructure solutions.

The two will also work to integrate new technologies into Lenovo Digital Workplace Solutions, enabling an improved user experience with enhanced security. The collaboration will bring together Lenovo’s Care of One platform and Cisco technology to deliver unparalleled productivity no matter where work happens.

Additionally, Cisco and Lenovo committed to expanding go-to-market opportunities together that drive generative AI capabilities and boost digital workplace productivity.

Cloud AI Startup CoreWeave Shoots For 2025 IPO

AI cloud infrastructure provider CoreWeave makes this week’s list with its reported plans to go public as soon as the first half of 2025.

CoreWeave is heavily backed by GPU developer Nvidia and several private equity firms. Earlier this month CoreWeave, based in Roseland, N.J., raised $1.1 billion in Series C financing and received a $7.5 billion debt package led by Blackstone, Magnetar and Coatue.

The boom in AI technology has accelerated demand for CoreWeave’s cloud infrastructure to train, serve inference and find-tune models, while the startup also provides access to Nvidia GPUs.

Founded in 2017, the company’s roughly 550 global workforce builds cloud solutions for compute-intensive use cases, such as AI, aimed to be less expensive than the public cloud.

The CRN 2024 Solution Provider 500

A shoutout to all the solution providers who made this year’s CRN Solution Provider 500 list, our ranking of the 500 biggest solution providers doing business in North America.

This year’s list ran from Accenture – which has been No. 1 on the list for several years – to No. 500, CBT, an Orange, Calif.-based solution provider.

The 2024 Solution Provider 500 collectively generated revenue of $501.2 billion in 2023, up 5 percent from the $475.9 billion last year’s Solution Provider 500 class generated in 2022.

In addition to the complete Solution Provider 500 list, also offers a closer look at the top 25 companies on this year’s ranking, a slideshow highlighting the Solution Provider 500 newcomers, and a roundup of how the Solution Provider 500 is dispersed across the U.S. states and Canadian provinces.