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Sprint/T-Mo merger is ‘tremendous’ opportunity for network specialist SQUAN

Operators want turnkey solutions, SQUAN VP of biz dev says

As operators pursue a co-engineering process that increasingly converges wired and wireless networks to support mobile 5G, fixed wireless and fiber-to-the-X services, they don’t want to micromanage multiple vendors. They want turnkey solutions, according to Carolyn Hardwick, the new national director of business development for SQUAN.

Based in New Jersey, SQUAN provides network engineering and fiber construction, including small cells, DAS, 5G, IoT and smart city projects, for telecom service providers and enterprises. The company has made a number of executive-level hires in the past 12 months with Hardwick coming on board to identify and support growth opportunities.

In an interview with RCR Wireless News, Hardwick pointed to experience at SBA and KPG, among others, as giving her a deep understanding of the tricky yet crucial machinations around wireless infrastructure sites, which is increasingly importance given the small cell-led densification investments carriers are making in markets around the country.

“I understand the inner working of wireless and wireline operations, as my first years in the industry were ‘sitting on the other side of the table’ as a site development manager for Sprint (AirGate PCS),” Hardwick said. “In that role I set high expectations for my vendors, and now I hold myself accountable by similar standards.”

To the small cell piece, Hardwick said the overall deployment process, including attendant national and local regulations, is evolving “especially as markets become more educated. As individual citizens and municipalities understand the advantages with heterogeneous networks, small cell installations are an increasing solution in most markets. In my opinion, the site development process is more involved than one year ago, but the technology is also advancing. I am hopeful that the public sees these strides as positive alternatives to macro tower builds.”

As to the $26 billion merger of Sprint and T-Mobile US, the only outstanding item is lawsuit brought by state attorneys general challenging the carrier consolidation as anti-competitive and harmful to consumers. Once that goes forward, the companies will go through a network integration process that will decommission some sites and activate new ones. Those old sites could likely be used by DISH, which is entering the market as a facilities-based carrier as part of the concessions made to gain regulatory approval for the merger. All of this means lots of work for network design/build firms.

“Once the deal is finally, well, final,” Hardwick said, “we see a tremendous amount of opportunity. SQUAN already supports both T-Mo and Sprint in a fairly substantial manner in multiple markets. Network convergence, overlay, rad-center consolidation, decommissioning and reuse are all avenues we will explore. Dish just adds to the opportunity, with SQUAN having played such [a] substantial role already in the ecosystem.”

Hardwick also serves as president of the Women’s Wireless Leadership Forum and the is a member of the global Women in Cable Telecommunications organization.

Hardwick currently serves as president of the Women’s Wireless Leadership Forum (WWLF).  She is also a member of the global organization, Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT), as well as ten State Wireless Association Programs.

She said the importance of diversity is clear and many companies have translated that into fostering leadership development for women. “There are women’s organizations like WWLF which offer mentoring, education and networking opportunities, and I appreciate that the industry supports these efforts. With regards to what the industry can do better, I believe it is the responsibility of individuals and their companies to be intentional in their efforts to empower women and foster leadership growth.”

ABOUT AUTHOR

Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Editor-in-Chief Sean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media's podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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