Case Studies

SAC Wireless

A leading data network implementer teams up with a global telecommunications giant

Since 1996 SAC Wireless has been providing the U.S. telecommunications industry with the wireless network infrastructure necessary to meet the demands of a rapidly expanding market.

The company develops, designs and implements network infrastructure for telecom companies throughout the country, offering a complete portfolio of services to support everything from major network builds to 4G LTE upgrades, indoor/outdoor small cell and Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS).

Chicago-based SAC Wireless handles nearly every aspect of a network upgrade and modification process, working with private landlords and municipalities to receive regulatory and permitting approval, performing all design and engineering services and scaling cell towers for the installation of associated telecommunication equipment.

SAC Wireless

Joining an industry leader

In August 2014, SAC Wireless became a wholly owned subsidiary of global telecommunications forerunner Nokia, which acquired the company as part of its overall strategy for the U.S. market. Nokia has since gone on to acquire French telecommunications giant Alcatel-Lucent, further cementing its position.

“Being connected with an original equipment manufacturer [OEM] that has a global footprint and capability combined with the assets of Alcatel-Lucent has been an exceptional experience for SAC as well as our customers,” says Bill Koziel, president and CEO of SAC Wireless.

The acquisition has vastly increased SAC Wireless’ overall technical knowledge and ability to forecast future trends in the industry as it now has access to Nokia’s considerable resources. “It gives us an advantageous understanding of technology, how it is developing and what the impact is going to be from a network and deployment perspective. It also gives us the ability to look beyond the U.S. to scrutinize case studies and best practices from around the world, which really expands our knowledge,” says Koziel.

For Koziel and the SAC Wireless team, the acquisition represents the culmination of 20 years of tireless work. “It was always part of the plan to build up the company and eventually sell it in order to realize its full potential and growth. We went into the market seeking to recapitalize the business and Nokia ended up being the successful bidder,” he says.

As a leader in 4G LTE technologies’ implementation services, SAC Wireless is now focused on densifying existing networks to meet capacity demands for those networks. “What we are seeing in the near term and into the foreseeable future is a real push to build ultra-dense networks in major cities across the U.S., thus building up the desperately needed capacity and enabling people to utilize their smart devices as more data is being consumed” says Koziel.

Building up such data capacity is especially important in an era where data-hungry apps and devices are placing an ever-increasing strain on existing networks.

“Our data needs are growing exponentially,” says Joe Sanzo, chief technology officer at SAC Wireless. “As the amount of data that each app is now required to transmit continues to grow and as devices get faster along with improvement of battery technology, there will be a greater need for densification of data networks and capacity.”

As urban centers continue to improve their telecommunications infrastructure, Koziel and the SAC Wireless team see great potential in the smart city concept, a model which emphasizes the integration of multiple information and communication technology and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to help manage a city’s assets and infrastructure.

Conceived as a way to improve overall quality of life, smart city technologies can be integrated into everything from schools and libraries to transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks and waste management services.

“It’s not only for first responders looking for improved communications and telemetry, but it can also help better manage a city in real time,” says Sanzo. Such technologies could be used by drivers to crowdsource feedback on road hazards and critical maintenance issues allowing municipalities to quickly respond, or analyze a city’s microclimate in order to better understand weather patterns, temperature and pollution.

The smart city concept would also be a benefit to public safety, giving first responders and city officials the tools they need to improve overall security and response times. Such technologies armed with capacity are absolutely critical to make decisions that save lives,” Koziel says.

Learning from the next generation

The influx of millennials into the workforce has been an advantage to companies like SAC Wireless. Given their relative familiarity with technology, this younger workforce is able to seamlessly step into new roles making them an in-demand asset for the industry.

“We have been very fortunate to hire people right out of college and groom their professional growth including their personal careers,” says Koziel. “We take pride in our efforts to target and recruit them upon completion of their education, as this results in our current employee population being about 25 to 30 percent of the company as millennials.”

Koziel has seen that as the millennial generation transitions into the industry workforce, employee demands constantly change and the industry must keep up with the changes.

These changes include an increased emphasis on instant communication and real-time feedback, which Koziel credits to an employee base that grew up in a more connected, technology-centric world. “As a result of growing up in a world where information is always readily available, they want that constant information flow” he says.

It’s easy to define success in terms of growth and revenue, but at SAC Wireless, it’s an emphasis on relationships and customer service that truly drives the business.

“At the end of the day it’s about working with our customers, cities, states and different jurisdictions in a seamless manner to build these networks. Our goal is to continuously meet or exceed customer demands in an efficient, productive and professional way,” says Koziel.

As the company continues its growth, Koziel is ever-wary of growing complacent as an organization, especially in a market that evolves as quickly as telecommunications. Never one to rest on his laurels, the SAC president is already planning around the next generation of data services, with 5G service slated to break into the market by 2020.

With access to mobile data becoming an increasingly vital part of everyday life, SAC Wireless will be there to design and implement the telecommunications infrastructure necessary to keep the country connected.

Published on: December 14, 2016

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