NEDAS Boston Interview with Dean Fresonke, Co-Founder and SVP of Business Development of ClearSky Technologies, Inc.

By Caroline Kurdej

Dean Fresonke is the Executive Vice President of Business Development and co-founder of ClearSky Technologies. Dean manages ClearSky’s in-building and RF design product initiatives and is responsible for relationships with key partners and customers.

This April, T-Mobile and Sprint, the third and fourth largest wireless carriers, respectively, tied the knot. The $26 billion merger is giving them a greater means to compete with Verizon and AT&T, who better embraced the inevitable shift toward 5G technology.

Dean Fresonke gave his insight into how the telecom industry has changed in the past twelve months in light of this new merger.

“There is quiet chaos going on within the four U.S. Tier 1 wireless operators that will have a major impact on suppliers and partners,” Dean commented. “The merger of T-Mobile and Sprint is the most visible in the news. More important than the headlines is the day to day operations in both organizations are blind to what the other company is doing and so the safe path is to minimize network changes that would overlap or conflict. This is slowing down decisions and spending and is likely to drag on for another year.”

The two mobile carrier companies first tried to merge in 2014, but faced antitrust opposition from the Obama Administration. Concerns have been expressed on higher prices that could be a result of a reduction in competition.

AT&T’s April merger with Time Warner has also been subject to debate.

“The Time Warner merger is a costly distraction for AT&T senior management and the AT&T Wireless division cash engine is going to be pressed to help pay the $80 billion purchase price through headcount reductions and reduced capital spending,” Dean stated. “That’s tough for the folks at AT&T Wireless and potentially worse for the vendors and partners. Verizon is above most of the fray going on in the other three operators but a costly 5G roll out will likely reduce available capital in other areas so the vendor community best line up around 5G deployment as there won’t be much spending power left for other activities.”

What rays of hope do we see for this dire future?

“The shining light for in-building systems providers in an otherwise dour market is the increasing willingness for enterprise customers to fund their own in-building cellular networks,” Dean explains.  “At ClearSky, we have worked out the deployment processes for radio sources with all four of the wireless operators so we can enable the DAS OEMs and integrators to confidently sell into this growing market, knowing that their in-building system will light up with cellular signal in a reasonable timeframe and at a reasonable cost.”

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