Agilent to Acquire SAFCO

Over the last several months, Agilent Technologies, the company spun off from HP's test and measurement division, has been targeting the wireless market. Now it has upped the ante by agreeing to acquire Chicago-based SAFCO Technologies, a subsidiary of Salient 3 Communications and a supplier of wireless planning, measurement, analysis, and predictive software and data collection products and services. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition of SAFCO will allow Agilent to extend its wireless solutions for service providers delivering wireless voice and data/Internet services, such as wireless e-mail, stock quotes and trades, and other mobile commerce applications. "With the growing demand of new wireless data/Internet services, carriers are faced with the daunting task of offering value-added services, while expanding and upgrading their networks at the same time," Byron Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of Agilent's Electronic Products and Solutions Group, said in a statement. "The combination of Agilent's test expertise and SAFCO's strength in software and services will help wireless service providers satisfy their growing subscriber bases…."

SAFCO offers information services, such as RECON network performance reports and competitive comparisons, and outsourced services from EE-certified engineers. The company also provides tools, including network design and analysis software, which enables wireless service providers to design, plan, and optimize wireless networks. SAFCO's products include CellOpt, a stand-alone frequency planning tool, and WIZARD, a tool for network planning, design, and analysis for major wireless technologies (CDMA, GSM, TDMA, iDEN, JCDMA, PDC, and AMPS). SAFCO's VoicePrint and DataPrint systems allow carriers to evaluate the performance of wireless networks for voice and data. The company's OPAS32 is a post-processing and network analysis software tool.

Agilent is determined to get a foothold in the wireless market and has moved to enhance its products containing CDMA technology. In the last few months, it has introduced new wireless products and unveiled an alliance with QUALCOMM, the maker of digital phone technology. Recently, Agilent announced the development of the Photonic Switching Platform, which will allow voice, video, and data to be switched as optical signals without converting them from photons to electrons. The platform is scheduled for availability by the end of the year.