By: , RCR Wireless

With executive-level reorg and acquisitions, SQUAN repositioning as end-to-end network services firm

ORLANDO–During the Wireless Infrastruture Association’s Connect X event this week, SQUAN’s Keith Pennachio, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, discussed the wireless and wireline trends he sees as growth opportunities for the company which, during the event, highlighted its repositioning effort from a construction firm to a “full-service network lifecycle business.”

SQUAN provides engineering and fiber construction for wireless and wireline networks for mobile carriers, cable companies, and a variety of enterprise customers.

Pennachio explained that given “the timing, where we are in the network arch” that the company’s services covering fiber, DAS, small cells and more, “We’re starting to see requests from our clients that incorporate all aspects of our service lines.”

“Fiber is definitely our biggest growth area right now,” he said, giving the example of an ongoing fiber-to-the-home deployment in the Northeast for a major MSO. “We’re able to staff truck as soon as they come of the assembly line.”

Moving from fiber to the wireless networks riding on it, Pennachio said carriers are looking for right-of-way, site identification, permitting and small cell work as heavily densified LTE networks serve as the surround and fallback for still emerging 5G networks that are limited to portions of major metro markets.

“What we’ve seen with a lot of our clients is that the services procurement focus mostly on wireless while not considering the outside plant aspect or complication related to site identification and permitting with municipalities for the right of way. Rather than taking a traditional wireless site acquisition path, we utilize our outside plant engineers to actually go out and do the site identification all the way through make-ready engineering, transitioning to our wireless team for the design and implementation of those sites in the right of way. It’s a fairly seamless approach.”

On the enterprise side, Pennachio said there’s still a lot of market education that needs to take place to drive real estate and building owner investment in in-building wireless systems as carriers decrease spend in that area. There’s one major issue. They don’t speak the same language. The way real estate owners and developers look at their per-square-foot yield is very different than how the network operators look at potential POPs in a facility.”

Another issue, Pennachio identified is the hectic pace of change that currently marks the telecom space with 5G and CBRS particularly confusing to potential investors who are interested in price and longevity.

That said, enterprise-led investment in DAS and small cell systems is on the rise. “The developers that we’ve dealt with over the last few years have grown tired of waiting for the DAS to come so [they]have decided to go ahead and build the neutral host themselves.”


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