Open Virtualized RAN Pioneer Altiostar Raises $114 Million

By Dan Anderson ● May 15, 2019

Altiostar, a Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based company known as the pioneer of open virtualized RAN (open vRAN) technology, announced it has closed $114 million in Series C funding. Rakuten joined as a new investor in this round. And last year, Qualcomm Ventures LLC and Tech Mahindra also participated as C-round investors.

With this round of funding, Altiostar is going to expand upon its virtual RAN solution to encompass 4G and 5G products — which will enable telecom operators to build end-to-end web-scale cloud-native networks.

In a recent report called “Worldwide 5G Network Infrastructure Forecast, 2018–2022,” IDC is expecting the largest percentage of overall investment to be in the RAN portion of 5G networks — which is likely going to grow at an annual rate of 156.6% between 2018 and 2022.

What virtualization means to be operators is that they can convert networks into a software-defined infrastructure that is able to scale with the agility required to meet the rapid growth of devices and applications.

“A round of this magnitude, backed by global technology leaders like Rakuten, Qualcomm Ventures and Tech Mahindra, signifies the immense 5G opportunity we have in front of us as well as the progress we have made developing our virtualized RAN technology. Our unique open vRAN solution is designed to improve the quality of experience, enhance spectral efficiency and significantly reduce Total Cost of Ownership. With this funding, and these strategic partners, we’re excited about our ability to deliver this breakthrough software-defined solution to network operators globally as they prepare for the 5G future,” said Altiostar president and CEO Ashraf Dahod in a statement.

Along with this funding round, Altiostar also set up agreements that are solidifying its relationship with each of its existing strategic partners.

For example, Rakuten is deploying the Altiostar solution in its mobile network and the two companies are collaborating on the development of 5G solutions.

“Rakuten shares Altiostar’s vision of open, virtualized radio access networks: The Altiostar vRAN solution is one of the key enablers of the end-to-end cloud-native, software-defined network we will launch in Japan this year. Through our work with Altiostar, we aim to take the lead in driving RAN virtualization and disrupting the mobile industry,” added Rakuten Mobile CTO Tareq Amin.

And Qualcomm has entered into a development collaboration agreement with Altiostar. “Qualcomm Technologies is committed to not only developing 5G technologies to help create new experiences and transform businesses and industries, but also to investing in companies that align with our vision. Qualcomm Ventures’ investment in Altiostar reflects our confidence in the ability of disaggregated RAN and vRAN architectures to transform mobile networks. We look forward to collaborating on the development of new 5G product solutions,” explained Qualcomm’s EVP of strategy and M&A Brian Modoff.

Plus Tech Mahindra has signed a value-added-reseller/system integrator contract with Altiostar. “Tech Mahindra’s network service portfolio includes all aspects of building, deploying and operating radio access networks. Tech Mahindra has extended its regional services capabilities and global reach through strategic acquisitions and has a truly global presence to help provide scale to emerging technologies like Altiostar’s open vRAN solution,” noted Tech Mahindra’s President of Communications, Media & Entertainment Business and CEO of Network Services Manish Vyas.