Being headquartered in New Zealand is a competitive advantage, according to Wellington-based wireless equipment supplier 4RF Communications Of the company’s 60-odd staff, 52 are based in New Zealand, where the company takes care of research and development, manufacturing, sales, marketing, finance and general administration, says marketing director Jarlath Lally. The rest are based in overseas offices in the UK, Dubai, North America, Malaysia and South Africa, he says. The company, which designs and manufactures long distance point-to-point radio solutions, has the ability to operate 24-hours a day, Paris-based Lally says. “Anything that comes at us during the day in Europe, say a quotation, a bid or customer issues, and we start working on here, can be passed over to our colleagues in New Zealand at the end of the day. When we wake up the next morning, things have moved on,” he says. It gives the ability to create an “around the clock momentum” on the sales and customer service side, he says. The company was founded in 1999 by chief technology officer John Yaldwyn. Yaldwyn was with MAS Technologies for 13 years, where he held senior engineering and management roles, before leaving to start 4RF. The company was really kicked off as an “R&D vehicle”, says Lally. Today, the company exports over 95% of its products. It has deployed solutions in over 140 networks and in close to 100 countries, he says.The technology delivers communications capabilities to remote areas, and a lot of 4RF’s business is in developing countries that have the need to roll out critical infrastructure, he says. The system can link points up to 100 kilometres apart and deliver speeds up to 65Mbit/s.One of the company’s main challenges is talking to regulators around the world and reminding them that the wireless technology does exist. “It is still extremely valid for mission critical applications in utilities, the oil and gas industry, in the public safety environment — police and ambulance networks,” says Lally. While Lally is reluctant to name clients, he says the company has struck some significant deals recently in the rural broadband/telephony sector, the utilities sector and the oil and gas sector. 4RF invests about 20% of revenues in R&D, Lally says. The engineering core competence is one of the strengths of the company, he says, and the company is now looking to develop other types of network-related technologies that its customers are asking for, and to bring these additional technologies to the same customers. 4RF won the ANZ Wellington Export Awards last month and is one of 23 finalists in the 2007 New Zealand Export Awards, to be held in November.
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