On April 10, 2017, ATT made an offer to buy Straight Path Communications (STRP) for $95.63 per share in an all-stock deal worth $1.25 billion. Before the AT&T offer, Straight Path’s stock was trading around $36 (April 7) for over a year. On April 25, Straight Path announced it received another offer of $104.64 per-share offer from another telecommunications company. The new deal was estimated to be 1.31 billion. Straight Path’s share went up 6.4 percent to $118. On May 11, the deal was closed with $184 per share and Verizon was the winner – five times the trading price on April 7, 2017 and was worth $3.1 billion. Additionally, Verizon will pay a termination fee of $38 million to AT&T on Straight Path’s behalf.

Prior to the acquisition, Straight Path was worth around $400 million with less than 20 employees. Who is Straight Path and why the bidding war? One of the key elements in the wireless future is 5G which provides high-speed, low-latency and low-cost connection which will support IoT, big data and analytics. This fifth generation of wireless technology (sometimes referred to as mobile networks) is the next big things after the 4G LTE we have today. It is faster, much faster, in the order of 10Gbps download using millimeter wave band in the range of 20-60GHz. Some says that range may go up to 300GHz. Needless to say, all major carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are going after the 5G. Straight Path, a start-up company, owns 28 GHz and 39 GHz millimeter wave spectrum. The figure shows the spectrum owned by Straight Path, crown jewels of 5G.

Verizon is taking the lead in building its wireless and online empire. It first acquired AOL then Yahoo. At the end of March, it launched the first Low-power WAN (LPWAN) nationwide, M1 Network. With Straight Path, Verizon is positioning itself to be the king of 5G. Some analysts commented the $3.1 billion price tag might be too high. Only time will tell how it is going to play out. No doubt 5G is where everyone is heading. With the purchase of Straight Path, Verizon has already started building the fiber optic ground work. Milan-based Prysmian Group, specializes in energy and a telecom cable system has been awarded a $300 million Verizon contract to build a 5G network. Its North America Prysmian Group with 10 plants employing more than 2.000 people will be doing most of the work. (US revenue was $1.4 billion in 2016). Expect to see more investment in this technology from the carriers, hardware vendors and integrators.

Behind the 5G activities is a bigger scheme – Fog Computing. As Cloud Computing started 15 years ago, Fog will take this to the next level. It covers connections of the cloud, edge devices, sensors and wearables. The OpenFog Consortium backed by Cisco, Microsoft, IBM and the like will drive this forward. Everything under the sun will come under Fog – IIoT, LPWAN, connected cars application, medical devices, edge computing and analytics. A Fog spec has been released on February 2017 (downloadable for free). As the wireless world expands, Fog will grow, low-power WAN will expand and so do cyber threats. In this issue, we have invited experts to explain Fog, Edge, LPWAN and how to protect ourselves from cyberattacks. Additionally, an expert will explain the different standards.