Ericsson said it closed its purchase of BelAir Networks today, a deal that adds new Wi-Fi offload capabilities to its infrastructure offerings at a time when wireless operators are increasingly relying on the technology to manage soaring data traffic.
Ottawa, Canada-based BelAir will not function as a separate subsidiary and has been made part of Ericsson's brand. Its 120 employees will work in Ericsson's networks division.
"By integrating BelAir Networks' talented people and these new assets into Ericsson's mobile infrastructure leadership, we will accelerate the integration of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies and strengthen our heterogeneous network (hetnet) offering," said Johan Wibergh, head of Ericsson's networks unit.
Heterogeneous networks combine different wireless technologies and cell sizes to increase network capacity. For instance, an operator’s network might incorporate a combination of small cells, macro base stations, LTE and Wi-Fi offload.
Ericsson announced in February that it was buying a 100 percent stake in BelAir for an undisclosed sum. Financial terms of the transaction remain private.
The infrastructure vendor said it is "committed" to BelAir's customers, which include AT&T and Comcast.
The BelAir acquisition is not Ericsson's first foray into Wi-Fi offload. It released an operator-controlled solution last September as part of its hetnet product, and in February it came out with a Wi-Fi-capable picocell.