By Jason Knott, April 03, 2014
While cellular network signals are getting clearer and stronger in the sky following the new FCC mandate, it sure is getting crowded down on the ground on the manufacturing side.
Yet another cellphone signal booster company, 5BARz International Inc. (OTC: BARZ), is entering the fray. While the company is currently focused outside the U.S., primarily in Latin America, it has its sights set on the U.S. market later this year. As part of that expansion, the Seattle-based company announced it has selected San Diego-based Flextronics (NASDAQ:FLEX) as its supply chain solutions and manufacturing partner for the 5Barz Network Extender.
The partnership greatly expands 5BARz’s manufacturing capabilities to serve the rapidly growing global market demand for improved cellular infrastructure connectivity. The differentiator that 5BARz brings to the table for its plug-and-play, network-specific $200 device is its patent.
According to Daniel Bland, president and CEO, the company has a U.S. patent that allows for the signal booster to automatically adjust the system gain in order to not interfere with the macro-network. For example, using software the device can change from 70dB gain to 90dB gain.
“We are the only company that can do that and we will aggressive defend the patent,” Bland tells CE Pro.
Also the 5×3.5×1.6-inch Network Extender has the ability to cancel out the echo or feedback that can occur when antennas are mounted too close together.
“That is a game-changer,” comments Bland.
From a distribution standpoint, 5BARz is focused on selling directly to phone company carriers at this point, not to integrators. But Bland says that while the company does not have a multi-tier sales channel right now, once the company enters the U.S. market it will be evaluating all channels. Since the company is not yet in the U.S. market, it has not yet applied for the FCC certification.
The partnership with Flextronics will enable 5Barz to deliver their Network Extender products in large volumes with high quality. Additionally, Flextronics’ ability to leverage its global scale and manufacture these products in different regions around the world will also benefit 5Barz and its customers.
“We are excited about partnering with a world-class iconic manufacturer for high volume production, allowing us to extend our reach and connect with more customers and channels in several regions,” says Bland. “5BARz is committed to delivering high quality, cost-effective solutions for our cellular network infrastructure devices on scalable level. We recently announced our innovation center launch in San Diego and Flextronics’ location will enable seamless logistics and efficient operational procedures as well as a reduction in time-to-market to meet the needs of our customers.”
“We are thrilled to partner with 5BARz and provide them value that increases their competitiveness in the marketplace,” says Mike Dennison, president of Flextronics High Velocity Solutions. “Specifically, we are pleased to provide them with supply chain solutions, including our global scale, that will help to take the Network Extender to the next level.”
While there are multiple companies now offering cellphone boosters, the market still has very low penetration. Bland estimates the U.S. market for these devices to be $27 billion, which represents only a 3 percent household penetration.