HPE eyes private 5G expansion with Athonet acquisition

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) logo on a glass building
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HPE has announced its acquisition of mobile core network provider Athonet - a move that will expand the firm’s enterprise network reach and bolster the Greenlake platform.

The industry giant stated that the move will consolidate its edge offerings and harness Athonet’s industry standing to provide improved 5G private networks, leading to faster deployments for B2B customers.

Cloud service providers have been identified as those that could benefit from these services the most. HPE will now be able to offer telcos and other organisations in the sector private 4G and 5G networks with enhanced network orchestration and automation included.

HPE expects the transaction to close at the beginning of its Q3, subject to regulatory approvals. At some point after this the firm’s services will be integrated into HPE’s Aruba portfolio, allowing IT managers to control private 5G through HP’s unified console and make use of the platform’s AIOps.

The monetary value of the deal will not be disclosed at this time, HPE told IT Pro.

Athonet is based in Italy and has served 4G and 5G mobile core networks to more than 450 customers and partners around the world. It is versed in private and public sector deployment, and the integration into HPE's business is set to deliver more complete private network coverage.

HPE identified private 5G as one of its priorities for the future and with Athonet these services are being brought to HPE Greenlake, the company’s edge-to-cloud platform.

Through Greenlake, private 5G and Wi-Fi will be available through a monthly subscription model, alongside consumption models that will allow enterprises to adopt private 5G through the platform’s networking as a service offerings.


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“Telco customers are looking for simpler ways to deploy private 5G networks to meet growing customer expectations at the connected edge,” said Tom Craig, global vice president and general manager of the Communications Technology Group at HPE.

"At the same time, enterprise customers are demanding a customised 5G experience with low latency, segregated resources, extended range and security across campus and industrial environments that complement their existing wireless networks.

"With the acquisition of Athonet, HPE now has one of the most complete private 5G and Wi-Fi portfolios for CSP and enterprise customers – and we will offer it as a service through HPE GreenLake.”

Once it has been brought into Aruba, Athonet will sit alongside firms such as SD-WAN business Silver Peak, which was acquired by HPE in September 2020.

Private 5G networks offer enterprises a range of improved services and are a key support for systems such as internet of things (IoT) devices, edge computing, industrial robotics, telematics, and advanced data networking.

An IDC forecast from March 2022 predicted that the private 5G market will reach $1.6 billion (£1.3 billion) annual value by 2026.

These networks are increasingly being rolled out amongst enterprises, particularly those with the need to supply high throughput to controlled environments such as manufacturing floors and transportation hubs.

Nokia and Kyndryl announced an extended partnership on private 5G, with an eye on expanding operations within the £418 billion Industry 4.0 market.

Rory Bathgate
Features and Multimedia Editor

Rory Bathgate is Features and Multimedia Editor at ITPro, overseeing all in-depth content and case studies. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.

In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, following four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at rory.bathgate@futurenet.com or on LinkedIn.