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Exclusive: Airspan's CEO On Why The Company 'Defines The Terms' Of 5G Revolution

Exclusive: Airspan's CEO On Why The Company 'Defines The Terms' Of 5G Revolution

Airspan — a 5G end-to-end, Open Radio Access Network hardware and software provider — has reached an agreement to combine with New Beginnings Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: NBA) as part of a SPAC merger deal. 

On Thursday, Benzinga "SPAC Attack" hosts Chris Katje and Mitch Hoch hosted Airspan President and CEO Eric Stonestrom to better understand details of the SPAC deal and the company's growth outlook.

The SPAC Route: New Beginnings Acquisition executives have an impressive track record and boast the necessary industry experience to help leverage Airspan's growth prospects, Stonestrom said.

The decision to list through a SPAC deal also gives investors an opportunity to participate in the growth story at an earlier stage, the CEO said. 

Airspan counts SoftBank as an investor, and its billionaire CEO Masayoshi Son is "very personally involved" with its purpose, Stonestrom said. 

Related Link: 'SPACs Attack' Weekly Recap: Looking Back On 5 Deals, Rumors And Headline News

Airspan's Investors: Aside from SoftBank, Airspan has received backing from Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) and DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ: DISH).

The company's impressive "investor roster" is a "validation" of the company's capabilities and serves as proof as to why it is different in the crowded telecom space, Stonestrom said. 

"All of them have seen in Airspan something unique and really groundbreaking and innovative," the CEO said. "Customers are seeing that as well."

Airspan's 5G Exposure: The continued rollout of 5G telecom infrastructure worldwide represents the "most exciting cycle of innovation" given the much larger amount of information that will be moved through the air within a similar amount of spectrum, Stonestrom told Benzinga. 

The entire telecom infrastructure needs to operate in a much more efficient way, and this is where Airspan fits in, he said.

The company is the only North American integrated 5G Access Network provider, the CEO said. 

"It's all about more software, you have to be able to deploy these many more tools and base stations quickly and you have to be able to have them configure themselves quickly," the CEO said. "And that's a revolution in terms of how networks are built and we define the terms of that revolution and will continue to do so moving forward."

The company has been for the most part operating with a "low profile," Stonestrom said, adding that its transition to a public company represents the "unveiling" of a new company with a much broader customer base and a superior growth profile.

As the 5G industry continues to grow, the company is not only adding new customers but selling more products to existing customers, he said. 

Sizing Up The Competition: Competition within the 5G universe is intense, but Airspan boasts a "great portfolio of innovation" and also boasts a cost advantage, Stonestrom said. 

Perhaps most notably, the company stands out in terms of ease of deployment and rapid time to value, he said. 

"A lot of the money that is spent building networks is in the operational, logistics, site acquisition, and tower rentals," the CEO said. "And we just turn that paradigm upside down and bring things out at one-tenth of the total costs for the same amount of information being carried."

Airspan's Revenue Outlook: Airspan is modeling 47% revenue growth in 2021 to $254 million. The growth potential comes from the organically growing 5G market and growing total addressable market.

The company expects to see continued momentum beyond 2021 with a revenue growth projection in the 30% range, and the CEO said Airspan is very confident in its ability to reach these goals.


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