Elauwit acquisition gives Boingo inroads into apartment connectivity segment

LOS ANGELES—Looking out over the UCLA campus and the 405, Boingo Wireless CEO David Hagan discussed growth opportunities for the connectivity provider, which has grown from being known as an airport Wi-Fi provider to a public company with expertise in a range of cellular and unlicensed technologies.
“If you think about our military business,” Hagan said, “that’s an MDU. We did a bunch of research on MDUs. It’s a huge market opportunity. We believe from a technology perspective what we’ve done in the military would apply to it.”
Based on the company’s Q4 2017 financial results, announced in February, military revenue grew 37.2%. Boingo provides a range of services including Wi-Fi and TV for service men and women living in military barracks throughout the U.S. and in South Korea and Japan, and several of its conference rooms are named after bases.
On Aug. 1 Boingo made public its planned $28 million acquisition of Charleston, S.C.-based Elauwit Networks, a Wi-Fi provider focused on serving student housing and multi-family properties.
“Elauwit has been very successful in the college housing market,” Hagan said. “We think we’ll be able to replicate the military business but in a much larger target market. If you think about what’s out there, almost every apartment building, every condo…Our military housing is capped to a certain extent. But MDUs, it would take us 30 years to get to that same point. For a company our size, it’s almost an unlimited market opportunity.”
He noted that in-home broadband, TV and similar services provided by cable companies and satellite providers leave customers dissatisfied. So maybe it’s time to rethink that paradigm, Hagan said. “Instead of leaving it up to the tenants to figure it out, [building owners are]starting to do it themselves. We can make sure your tenants have a great experience. It’s just part of the rent.”

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