Test and Measurement: PCTel acquires Smarteq Wireless to bolster antenna business

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Test equipment and antenna company PCTel has acquired Swedish company Smarteq Wireless, which develops external antennas for vehicular, energy and industrial IoT applications. PCTEL acquired Smarteq from Allgon AB for about $6.8 million, according to a PCTel filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Smarteq serves customers in 20 countries and has offices in both Sweden and France; it produces antennas for smart metering, luxury vehicles, electric vehicle charging stations, industrial factory process automation, heavy construction and off-road vehicles, according to PCTel. David Neumann, PCTel’s CEO, said that the acquisition gives PCTel “a strong local presence, expertise, and channel partners to accelerate our growth in Europe, as well as a complementary portfolio of products for our industrial IoT and intelligent transportation customers worldwide.

“We are also excited to enter new markets such as electric vehicle charging stations, where analysts predict significant growth over the next several years,” he added.

In related news, PCTel reported revenues up about 1% year-over-year for the first quarter of 2021, with its net loss flat compared to the same time last year. Revenues were $17.7 million, and the company’s net loss for the quarter was $662,000, about the same as the $688,000 net loss that it posted at this time last year.

“Our antenna business was stable and the test and measurement products continue to perform very well as we address 5G deployments and emerging public safety opportunities,” said Neumann in a statement on the company’s earnings. “We expect market conditions and the demand for our antenna, IoT device and scanner products to improve through the year as global economies recover.”

In other test news:

-Another, larger T&M acquisition hit this week as well: Ametek acquired Georgia-based NSI-MI Technologies, which provides RF and microwave test solutions and services. Ametek picked up NSI-MI for $230 million; the company has annual sales of approximately $90 million. It provides test and measurement systems for “niche applications across the aerospace, defense, automotive, wireless communications, and research markets,” Ametek said, based on a portfolio that includes test instrumentation, components, software, anechoic and simulation chambers and aftermarket services.

David Zapico, Ametek chairman and CEO, said that NSI-MI “is an outstanding acquisition and nicely complements our existing Electromagnetic Compatibility test and measurement businesses. NSI-MI’s test and measurement solutions are uniquely positioned to support the continued development of advanced RF and microwave technologies for critical applications in wireless communications, satellite systems, autonomous vehicles, and defense systems.”

Dekra has acquired Centro Misure Compatibilitá (CMC), a lab in Thiene, Italy which conducts electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and radio frequency testing along with electrical safety, reliability testing and construction products. The lab’s main customers are in the mechanical engineering, medical, and automotive industries, according to Dekra.

“CMC significantly strengthens Dekra’s global laboratory network for regulatory testing services for all key markets and rounds off Dekra’s range of services Italy, one of the largest industrial markets in Europe,” said Fernando E. Hardasmal, EVP of Dekra’s service division product testing. “We see lot of important areas of synergy in light of CMC’s state-of-the-art facilities, its experienced team, and its customer base in the automotive, medical, rail, maritime, consumer, and professional and household electronics markets – sectors in which Dekra has a wide range of additional services to offer, such as cybersecurity, wireless, and global market access.”

Separately, Dekra publicly touted its employment stability during the course of the global pandemic, saying that it continued to grow its core employee base by 400 positions and plans to add another 1,000 jobs this year on a global basis by expanding its digital services. The testing and certification company said that it sees cybersecurity and artificial intelligence as “key future fields” and that its CEO Stefan Kölbl “regards 2021 as a year of enthusiasm for new beginnings with new shores of growth.”

Dekra also said that it plans to have its entire service portfolio digitalized by 2025.

US Cellular has achieved sustained gigabit speeds over a 7-kilometer line-of-sight, 5G fixed wireless access mmWave link in its commercial network. Perhaps even more intriguingly, the carrier said that at distance of 1.75 km with no line of sight, the partners were able to get sustained average downlink speeds of about 730 Mbps and sustain average uplink speeds of about 38 Mbps. Full story here.

About Author

Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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