ICT company Cegeka acquires Wallonia-based telecom operator Gridmax. As a provider of managed services, Gridmax has rolled out an innovative solution for mission critical connectivity services with Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) resources. With this takeover, Cegeka takes another important step in the Industrial-Internet of Things (I-IoT), market, while gaining access to the future 5G frequency band.

“Thanks to the existing network and the spectrum operated by Gridmax, we can take our first steps in the wireless telecommunications market, ahead of the roll-out of new 5G services,” says Stijn Bijnens, CEO of Cegeka. “This marks a further step in our strategy to provide a long-term response to the digital transformation needs of key sectors in the B2B market.”

Gridmax specializes in the rollout of 4G mission critical connectivity services for MTC applications in the 3.5 GHz band for rural regions. Among Gridmax’s key achievements are its commercial managed connectivity services for time critical SCADA telecontrol of equipment in remote electricity distribution cabins. “Cegeka, as a key European IT company, offers significant growth potential for Gridmax throughout its entire commercial network, as well as to secure the resources necessary for the evolution of Gridmax’s 4G MTC connectivity towards the objectives of 5G mMTC”, as Eric Smekens, CEO of Gridmax, emphasizes.

Wide range of wireless technologies

“By acquiring Gridmax, we now operate in the southern part of the country as a connectivity provider in the B2B market. We are expanding our portfolio with a technology platform that will allow us to roll out a wide range of wireless 4G & 5G technologies,” Stijn Bijnens further explains. “This acquisition represents a great opportunity for the further development of our wireless solutions for B2B customers in Wallonia. We have identified opportunities to strengthen our position as a result of the roll-out of Mobile Private Networks to industrial clients,” Manuel Pallage, General Manager at NSI, agrees. NSI is a Cegeka subsidiary, with focus on Wallonia.

Rights of use to the 5G spectrum.

Gridmax, among a few other players, already owns certain rights of use to 5G spectrum in Belgium. The frequencies are located near the bottom of the so-called 5G band, between 3.4 and 3.6 GHz. “Using these frequencies, we can roll out private networks for companies starting with 4G as of today and with a clear roadmap to 5G in the near future. Private 5G networks will provide considerable added value for Cegeka’s business clients,” Stijn Bijnens underlines. In addition to new highspeed B2B traffic profiles, 5G offers stable, reliable, low latency connectivity. These benefits increase the efficiency of business-critical operational processes and facilitate the roll-out of new and innovative mMTC/I-IoT services.