HPE To Acquire Private Cellular Provider Athonet To Establish Enterprise 5G Dominance

HPE has plans to integrate the private cellular provider’s technology into its existing CSP and Aruba networking enterprise portfolios to meet booming demand for private networking and enterprise 5G.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise is buying Athonet, a private cellular network technology provider based in Italy, to expand on its edge-to-cloud and telecommunications portfolios, the two companies announced late Thursday.

Vicenza, Italy-based Athonet provides mobile core networks to enterprises and communication service providers. HPE plans to integrate Athonet’s technology into its existing CSP and Aruba networking enterprise offerings to create a private networking portfolio as demand for private cellular and 5G rises sharply.

HPE in a statement published on Thursday evening said that the deal will put HPE at the front of a growing private 5G market that research firm IDC predicts to grow to $1.6 billion annually by 2026.

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The two companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

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Athonet’s technology will let HPE and its channel partners provide private networking capabilities, including private 5G, directly to enterprises and service providers as part of HPE’s Aruba networking portfolio. The new portfolio will include enhanced private networking that combines Wi-Fi and 4G/5G and new revenue streams for telecom service providers, Spring, Texas-based HPE said.

Aruba Executive Vice President and General Manager Phil Mottram has been with the company for the last four years and has helped the company launch key 5G product innovations and capabilities. Mottram said that private 5G was one of HPE-owned Aruba’s largest priority areas going forward. The deal, Aruba said, is a big step in that direction.

HPE’s acquisition of Athonet will open broader opportunities for HPE’s channel partners to pursue private networking space, Stuart Strickland, wireless CTO and fellow at Aruba, told CRN in an email.

“Adding Athonet to our existing CSP and Aruba networking enterprise offerings will give our partners access to one of the most complete private 5G and Wi-Fi portfolios available and enable them to assist customers that need secure, easy to deploy and manage connectivity for specialized applications such as robotics and industrial IoT, data networks and pipelines, and security systems facilitation,” Strickland said.

Integration with Aruba Central will allow partners that offer managed services to administer Wi-Fi and private 5G through a single interface, he added.

The company said it will offer private 5G and wireless as a service through the popular HPE GreenLake platform.

“Telco customers are looking for simpler ways to deploy private 5G networks to meet growing customer expectations at the connected edge,” said Tom Craig, global vice president and general manager, communications technology group for HPE, in a statement. “At the same time, enterprise customers are demanding a customized 5G experience with low-latency, segregated resources, extended range and security across campus and industrial environments that complement their existing wireless networks. With the acquisition of Athonet, HPE now has one of the most complete private 5G and Wi-Fi portfolios for CSP and enterprise customers.”

The integration of Athonet’s solutions within HPE and Aruba’s existing telco portfolios and the availability of the new solutions for partners and end customers will follow the close of the transaction, the company said.

The deal is expected to close at the beginning of the third quarter of HPE’s 2023 fiscal year, which ends in July.