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Vocus acquires long-time partner Challenge Networks for private network skills

Vocus acquires long-time partner Challenge Networks for private network skills

Ssees Challenge Networks cofounder Simon Lardner join the telco.

Andrew Wildblood (Vocus)

Andrew Wildblood (Vocus)

Credit: Ashley Mar

Vocus is set to acquire its long-time partner Challenge Networks in order to build more private LTE and 5G networks for customers.

Acquired for an unknown sum, the deal sees the eight-year-long partner of the telco add its expertise in private network deployment to Vocus.

Challenge Networks designs, deploys and operates private 4G and 5G networks for customers at specific sites, which includes mines, hospitals, universities, floating platforms at sea, vessels, ports and manufacturing and logistics sites.

Following the deal's completion, Vocus will be able to build more private LTE and 5G networks for customers, as well as be able to offer a managed service on a service-billed basis, rather than customers funding the infrastructure build themselves.

Specifically, the telco will gain the capability to integrate full turnkey private mobile networks, which includes skills in site surveying, spectrum planning, network design, RF engineering, vendor selection, procurement, delivery, acceptance testing and ongoing service operation and network assurance. 

“Vocus is looking forward to extending our proven and consistent design methodology, providing engineering excellence and highly customised solutions into the mobile domain,” said Vocus chief executive of enterprise and government Andrew Wildblood. 

In addition, Vocus will also gain mobile spectrum across Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory, as well as bring Challenge Networks co-founder Simon Lardner and its staff onboard.

“Challenge Networks’ expertise in deploying private LTE is a perfect match for Vocus’ extensive experience supporting Australia’s government, defence, utilities and resources sector customers with our fibre network and [LEO] satellite capability,” said Wildblood. 

“Through this acquisition, Vocus will be able to provide fibre or LEO satellite connectivity to the perimeter of a site and then through a private LTE network provide campus-wide wireless connectivity for applications such as autonomous vehicles, IoT [internet of things] sensors, building management systems, voice calls, push-to-talk devices, smartphones, tablets and computers anywhere on the site.” 

The acquisition of Challenge Networks comes months after it signed an agreement in November last year with SpaceX to provide Starlink Business to customers.

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