Following acquisitions and internal alignment, SQUAN is ready to provide turnkey network engineering and construction
In May this year, during the Wireless Infrastructure Association’s 2019 Connect (X) event, SQUAN went through a rebranding of sorts. But announcing itself as a full-service network design and build firm wasn’t like flipping a light switch; rather, the company has been hard at work making strategic acquisitions and key executive hires to best address the rapidly changing telecom industry.
Based in New Jersey, SQUAN specializes in a range of telecom services, including network design and deployment, and fiber to homes, buildings and radio sites, as well as fiber for in-building systems. The company works with Tier 1 U.S. carriers, major cable companies and commercial real estate owners on everything from permitting and construction of urban small cells to designing and deploying distributed antenna systems in Class A commercial buildings.
In 2017, SQUAN acquired Communications Specialists, Inc., a firm with expertise in aerial and underground fiber construction; this move allowed the combined company to expand the reach and scope of its fiber optic-related services. The previous year, the company acquired Osmose Communications Services, which focused on transport engineering and outside plant delivery services. And since February 2019, the company has promoted Nick White to the role of wireless division president; promoted Dave Rundella to VP/GM of wireless, overseeing DAS and small cells; brought on financial industry expert Glenn Weber to serve as chief financial officer; cable industry veteran Jeff Eiseman to serve as general manager of fiber splicing and construction services; and elevated Keith Pennachio from his executive vice president role to also look after the company’s expansion as chief strategy officer.
So what does all that mean? As Pennachio put it during a recent interview with RCR Wireless News, “SQUAN, for the longest time, was known as a wireless services company. Over the last few years since we made some strategic acquisitions, and as we integrated the groups and stitched these companies together, it has created an epiphany moment for our clients. We are looking at the ecosystem as a group and we’re looking at some of the emerging network trends.”
In terms of network trends, the predominant talking point in the telecom community is about the generational shift from 4G to 5G. And while 5G is very much in the early days of commercial availability, this network upgrade cycle is very different from its predecessors. In addition to faster consumer data services, 5G encompasses support for a massive number of cellular-connected devices and latency-sensitive applications like mobile augmented and virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, and precision robotic control.
To make that grand vision a reality, the infrastructure services companies that support carriers and their large-scale users will have to do a lot more than upgrades to radio sites. That’s part of the process, but it also includes deployment of new street-level small cell sites, the installation of edge compute equipment and, underlying all of it, fiber — and lots of it.
“Fiber is definitely our biggest growth area right now,” Pennachio said, giving the example of an ongoing fiber-to-the-home deployment in the Northeast for a major MSO. “We’re able to staff trucks as soon as they come off the assembly line.”
Moving from fiber to the wireless networks riding on it, Pennachio said carriers are looking for right-of-way, site identification, permitting and small cell work as heavily densified LTE networks serve as the surround and fallback for still emerging 5G networks that are limited to portions of major metro markets. He said that, given “the timing, where we are in the network arc” that with the company’s services covering fiber, DAS, small cells and more, “We’re starting to see requests from our clients that incorporate all aspects of our service lines.”
Pennachio explained that the majority of SQUAN’s business comes from mobile network operators and cable companies, although he noted a marked increase in enterprise customers–a trend that has been playing out for some time as carriers reduce spend on in-building systems putting the impetus on the commercial real estate owner or developer to provide cellular accessibility. In that regard, SQUAN has a unique advantage through its relationship with Cheytec, which has unique agreements in place with various OEMs to facilitate fast procurement of in-building radio system components.
Looking at these large-scale network trends, SQUAN CEO Duane Albro said market needs are “well aligned with the total turnkey engineering and construction solutions SQUAN offers, providing us with a significant growth path. This convergence of events, coupled with professional management, has enabled the company to experience significant annual revenue growth for the past three years.”
To learn more about SQUAN, click here.