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‘Huge firings’ at Parallel Wireless as CEO blames economic conditions

Steve Papa Parallel Wireless.jpg

Former Parallel Wireless staff in India, Israel, the UK and the US are looking for work following wide-scale layoffs in the open RAN specialist this week.

One unconfirmed estimate from Indian technology consultant RIU Global Services put the number at 500, in a LinkedIn post that urged those affected to get in touch.

Steve Papa, CEO and founder of Parallel Wireless in the US, did not confirm numbers to Capacity, but told us in an email: “We are making adjustments to prudently right-size given the realities of global economic conditions, Covid supply chain constrained world, and the pace of adoption of OpenRAN.”

According to an overview in PitchBook.com, debt-funded Parallel Wireless has – or had – 835 employees. Investors include DN Capital and First Star Ventures.

An Israeli business newspaper, Calcalist, said Parallel Wireless was “expected to lay off a quarter of its employees” in the country, saying it “summoned about 60 employees to a pre-dismissal hearing”. This was despite the fact that, “at the beginning of the year, the company announced its intention to expand its development centre in the country and recruit 100 more employees”.

Others have noted the sudden reversal of the strategy in the company, which has just moved to new headquarters in Nashua, New Hampshire.

A year ago a report from Appledore Research named Parallel Wireless at the top of its league table for companies named as having contracts in the fast-developing open RAN market, ahead of Altiostar, Intel and Mavenir.

Capacity said at the time: “Parallel Wireless is the biggest in sheer numbers – value is not stated – with 18 announced contracts, ahead of Altiostar with 16. Intel and Mavenir have 14 and 11 respectively, says Appledore in the report, by consulting analyst Robert Curran.”

The firings have hit people at all levels of the company. Israel-based technology systems architect Benny Assouline, marking his LinkedIn account “open to work”, said on the platform: “I am looking for a new role and would appreciate your support. Thank you in advance for any connections, advice, or opportunities you can offer.”

Many of those affected have joined a Parallel Wireless alumni group on the platform, with 292 members by this morning.

Parallel Wireless technical operations manager Akash Shivhare wrote that he knew of “a team of dedicated engineers (15) for whom I can personally vouch”, in India. “In the past, I formed this solid team and each one of them was hired out of at least 20 people we interviewed for each position. … Please reach out to me if you are looking for good engineers.”

UK-based senior marketing communication specialist Laura Elizabeth Quelch, who joined Parallel Wireless in January, also marked herself as “open to work” on LinkedIn.

Former executive VP of marketing Eugina Jordan, who joined the company in 2013 in the US, wrote: “My heart goes out to all my colleagues across the globe that have been impacted by a mass layoff at Parallel Wireless, including yes, myself. I was one of the affected as well.”

She added: “Our amazing team has changed the industry for the better and has helped many global customers reimagine their networks.”

Jordan, who is still listed as a member of the company’s leadership team, was clearly stunned by the reversal in fortunes for Parallel Wireless. She was telling telecoms media a year ago that the company expected to double the number of employees by the end of 2022.

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