Ericsson\u2019s purchase of wireless WAN vendor Cradlepoint means that the Sweden-based networking powerhouse is targeting growth in the 5G and edge markets, according to experts.\n\n5G resources\n\nWhat is 5G? Fast wireless technology for enterprises and phones\nHow 5G frequency affects range and speed\nPrivate 5G can solve some problems that Wi-Fi can\u2019t\nPrivate 5G keeps Whirlpool driverless vehicles rolling\n5G can make for cost-effective private backhaul\nCBRS can bring private 5G to enterprises\n\n\nThe deal, valued at $1.1 billion, will see Cradlepoint become a fully owned subsidiary of Ericsson, part of the larger company\u2019s Business Area Technologies and New Business division\nCradlepoint was founded in 2006 in Boise, Idaho, and has roughly 700 employees and more than 20,000 customers, according to a deal report from 451 Research. The company\u2019s main line of business is selling 3G\/4G\/LTE routers and modems to service providers and directly to enterprises that want to use that type of connectivity in private networks.\nCradlepoint has a large and varied enterprise-customer base ranging from law enforcement to smart cities to transportation, and has close relationships with carrier equipment manufacturers like Ericsson, whose business has also included wireless gear, but hasn\u2019t overlapped with Cradlepoint\u2019s. Ericsson\u2019s main business is selling equipment to carriers, not enterprises.\nWhile Ericsson trumpeted its intent to play a major role in the deployment of 5G in its announcement \u2013Cradlepoint is expected to play a large role in private 5G networks in the U.S. \u2013 specific technologies are likely side issues next to the broader notion of expanding the company\u2019s market share, according to Farpoint Group principal Craig Mathias.\n\n\u201c5G will clearly play a role, but I believe the motivator is to broaden Ericsson's base, expanding into the enterprise along with the opportunity for both an immediate return as well as an evolutionary path to 5G,\u201d he said. \u201cBut at present, the former is more important than the latter.\u201d\nIt\u2019s possible to characterize the Cradlepoint acquisition as another attempt to make headway in the enterprise private networking market, according to the 451 report on the deal--but that isn\u2019t quite what\u2019s going on here. Ericsson has made attempts to do that in the past, which were met with disfavor among the company\u2019s telecom customers. Per 451, Ericsson has downplayed that aspect of the deal, but it could still strengthen the company\u2019s hand if it ultimately decides that a renewed push on direct-to-enterprise sales is warranted.\nCradlepoint doesn\u2019t generate positive operating income yet, but the impact of the company on new parent Ericsson\u2019s own books is expected to be minimal \u2013 around a 1% hit to operating margin for the next two fiscal years.