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OC’s Top Wireless, Telecom Firms Ramp Up Offerings

Costa Mesa's UVNV Rises Into Top 5 Slot

Orange County’s largest telecom firms are holding on to their headcount as they ramp up service offerings and partnerships in and outside of the region.

For Costa Mesa-based UVNV Inc., that means an expansion of its services via its subsidiary, Plum, which connects smaller mobile carriers that resell cellular data from larger mobile network operators, such as AT&T and T-Mobile.

Plum this month announced an expansion of its partnership with the latter service provider, which Plum has worked with exclusively for a decade.

The new agreement enables Plum “to offer its customers a host of turnkey programs on the nation’s largest, fastest and most reliable 5G network,” it said in a statement.

“The combination of T-Mobile’s network with Plum’s technical capabilities and proven go-to-market expertise will enable customers to capitalize on a broad scope of wireless opportunities,” Dan Thygesen, senior vice president of T-Mobile Wholesale, added.

Plum refers to itself as one of the fastest-growing mobile virtual network aggregators. The company is indeed fast-growing in Orange County; UVNV posted a 48% jump in its local headcount to 497 employees, earning it the No. 5 spot on this year’s Business Journal list of the top Telecommunications and Wireless Companies.

UVNV, which offers prepaid mobile services at low cost, is up two slots from last year when it was listed as Ultra Mobile. It’s the largest local company featured on the list, which is based on the size of a company’s local workforce.

Beating the Competition

New Jersey-based Verizon Communications Inc. and T-Mobile of Bellevue, Wash., held the top spots with an estimated 1,600 and a reported 1,315 workers, respectively, in their local offices, largely unchanged from last year.

Top local employer Verizon is seeking new ways to add wireless phone subscribers during a shaky time for the sector.

Last month, the firm said it added 12,000 monthly wireless phone subscribers in the second quarter, far below analysts’ predictions for 167,200 new phone customers, as phone carriers struggle to offset the inflationary environment.

“Our second quarter was not a good barometer of where Verizon has been, or where we’re going,” Verizon CEO and Chairman Hans Vestberg said in an earnings call following the results. “We’re not satisfied with our performance. We know what the issues are.”

Verizon has had more traction for its high-end priced plans than its lower-priced plans, though it expects to see a boost in business from that segment after launching the $30 Unlimited Welcome plan.

T-Mobile appears to have fared better than Verizon and AT&T—No. 3 on the list—when it comes to securing and maintaining customers.

“We delivered our highest ever Q2 postpaid net additions with an industry best 1.7 million, more than AT&T and Verizon combined,” T-Mobile CEO and President Mike Sievert said during a July 27 earnings call. “This includes 723,000 postpaid phone net adds. Our postpaid phone churn dropped 13 basis points sequentially to 0.80, and we were the only wireless service provider to improve year over year.”

Local Sales

Overall, the number of OC employees in the telecoms and wireless industry rose about 1.7% to 7,249 this year.

Mobilitie, the telecommunications infrastructure giant founded by Gary Jabara, and sold to Australia’s BAI Communications last year for what reports pegged to be about $1.7 billion, ranks No. 13, with 76 local employees,­ up from 70 last year.

Mobilitie’s infrastructure offerings enable wireless coverage in a variety of settings, ranging from stadiums to casinos as telecommunications companies increasingly focus on super-fast 5G wireless technology.

The company’s projects include public transit systems in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle, as well as deploying a 5G network at LA’s Crypto.com arena and L.A. Live.

Irvine-based Infinite Electronics, a global supplier of components that was acquired by Warburg Pincus last year for an undisclosed sum, moved up one notch to No. 8 with an estimated 150 employees.

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