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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Boldyn’s Investment Pipeline Tops $2B

Boldyn Networks US CEO Christos Karmis says there’s a unique complication to bringing wireless communications to the tunnels of the New York subway system: in the city that never sleeps, neither do the underground trains.

“The network doesn’t stop running,” Karmis told the Business Journal. “It’s a very complex deployment.”

The company is handling the 5G network upgrade and expansion of for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the New York metropolitan area, which reports indicate is the largest wireless deployment project in the country.

The project will double the size of the 5G fiber network for the MTA, and will include 418 track miles and up to 20 separate river crossings, according to an announcement in early 2023.

The network “will be designed to support over 10 million users per day and allow mobile network operators to offer their customers enhanced data and voice service underground and throughout the entire NYC subway,” a statement said.

It’s just one of several notable 5G rollout projects for Boldyn US, OC’s 11th-largest telecom firm by headcount according to data compiled by the Business Journal.

Boldyn was formed in part from the rebranding of Newport Beach-based telecom infrastructure company Mobilitie, which was founded by OC entrepreneur Gary Jabara.

Karmis in July took over as CEO of Boldyn Networks US, though the role isn’t all that new for him; he was previously CEO of Mobilitie, which was sold to BAI Communications of Australia for $1.7 billion two years ago.

Mobilitie was rolled into the new global entity Boldyn Networks earlier this year, amidst the spread of super-fast 5G wireless communications.

Boldyn US has made its base in Irvine; the global headquarters are in London.

“Our pipeline is bigger than it’s ever been,” Karmis told the Business Journal last month. He added that Boldyn has plans to invest “north of $2 billion” over the next few years.

City Infrastructure

Boldyn US is installing customized hardware to add high-capacity fiber connectivity through about 500 stations of the New York subway system, which has tunnels that in some cases date back more than a century.

The project will allow for 5G cellular service and other digital capabilities for users of the subway.

“It’s a very complex deployment, where your only work windows are outage windows, and then you’re limited in how you can schedule outages,” Karmis said. “You can’t do outages on both sides of the trains.”

Boldyn is also handling New York’s “smart cities” communications infrastructure project with LinkNYC, which aims to provide free Wi-Fi service, charging stations and other features.

“It’ll be the largest city 5G wireless network pretty soon,” Karmis said.

Boldyn is working on a similar Wi-Fi project for branches of the military, with the goal of creating “smart bases” akin to the “smart cities” projects.

Other city partnerships include long-term agreements with transit authorities to deliver connected solutions for subway systems in San Francisco, Toronto, Hong Kong and London in addition to the New York transit system.

Sports, Venues

Other high-profile projects on tap for the firm include a partnership with the Cleveland Cavaliers to provide 5G service at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland; Karmis adds: “We’re bringing state-of-the-art connectivity to 12 pro soccer stadiums across the country, including CityPark in St. Louis.”

Boldyn is also continuing its work at venue spaces, for example working to implement 5G connectivity to an under-construction music and entertainment venue at the 19-acre Nashville Yards development in Tennessee.

“We make returns on our investments through leasing arrangements with carriers and/or venue owners to support their applications and services over our infrastructure,” according to Karmis.

The Boldyn US CEO says that model minimizes costs to the company’s carrier and venue customers as well as ensuring they have robust wireless connectivity with a trusted technology partner.

Karmis declines to provide Boldyn’s revenue figures, but notes the company is “definitely profitable.”

“The U.S. is the biggest market for the company on a global basis,” Karmis said.

Aggressive Hiring

The company has approximately 500 employees throughout the U.S. and counted 74 in Orange County as of July.

“We’re continuing to hire aggressively,” Karmis said.

The company had more than 40 job openings posted on its website as of Aug. 31.

Prior Mobilitie-headed projects included a 5G Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network throughout Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, one of the busiest and largest pro-sports venues in the country, as well as the adjacent 4 million-square-foot L.A. Live entertainment district.

Boldyn Networks is backed by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which has been the majority owner of BAI Communications since 2009.

While plenty of people are still waiting for 5G, some experts are already looking to 6G and beyond. Boldyn aims to be ready for that demand.

“The networks are already designed to accommodate those upgrades,” Karmis said.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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