Sarantel Group PLC
Type Public limited company (AIM: SLG)
Founded 2000 (Wellingborough)
Headquarters Wellingborough, United Kingdom
Key people

David Wither (CEO) Sitkow Yeung (CFO & Company Sec)

Oliver Leisten (Chief Technology Officer)

Sarantel (officially Sarantel Group PLC) (AIM: SLG) is a Wellingborough, UK-based manufacturer of miniature low-proximity antennas used in cell phones, PDAs, GPS, and other communication devices. The company has offices in England and the US. Sarantel is listed on the London Stock Exchange in the Alternative Investment Market (SLG.L).


Company history

Sarantel is a spin-off of Symmetricom founded in 2000 by Dr. Leisten. Leisten was spearheading the development of a new type of miniature antenna – now called PowerHelix - since the 1990s at Navstar Systems Ltd. Navstar was acquired by Symmetricom in 1993.[1] During 1999 and 2000 Symmetricom enacted a strategy to focus on their core business of designing and manufacturing timing and network synchronization technology.[2][3][4][5] They offered Dr. Leisten an opportunity to do a management buy out of the miniature antenna technology they acquired from Navstar.

Leisten took advantage of the offer and founded Sarantel and the company started trading on 29 September 2000[6] with first-round funding of approximately $10 million from 3i and Foresight Venture Partners.[7] Further private funding rounds involved 3i, MTI, Foresight Venture Partners, Trivest, E Technologies and Hotbed[8] In 2004 the European Tech Tour identified Sarantel as one of the Top 25 high growth technology companies in the UK.[9] In March 2005 Sarantel floated on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market and in August 2005 Sarantel shipped its one-millionth antenna.[10]

Intellectual property

Sarantel has developed an intellectual property portfolio comprising over two dozen core patents with hundreds of international filings on the design and production of dielectrically loaded antennas.[10]

Products and services

Sarantel’s antenna products are used in a broad range of GPS, satellite radio, military and satellite phone applications (see Applications).

The company’s primary focus is on designing and manufacturing patented dielectrically loaded antenna technology, this technology is specifically aimed at hand held devices which are mostly used close to human bodies. By off setting the antenna tuning to factor in the near-field interference caused by the water in the human body, Sarantel claims to reduce the impact of ‘body loading’ often associated with conventional antenna technologies. This however has the side effect of making the Helix type antennas less suitable for use in free space applications where a large watery body is not nearby.[11][12][13][14]

Their R&D efforts are mostly focused on reducing near-field interference to improve the range and quality of wireless communications.[12][14][15][16]


Sarantel’s PowerHelix antenna technology is the commercialization of 20 years of research in balancing electric fields across a dielectric-core.[12] Their technology enables dense electro-magnetic near-fields to be stored in a low-loss dielectric material.[14] This approach reduces the amount of close-range electromagnetic energy that a user of a cell phone, GPS or other mobile technology is exposed to.


Sarantel’s technology is geared towards applications of wireless antenna’s with “in-use” conditions where match and gain characteristics do not vary with changing use scenarios and towards applications that experience significant near-field interference.

In certain applications, antennas for wireless products that are used close to the human body should be designed resonating independently from the wireless product.[12] This approach reduces the interference from human bodies called ‘body loading’ by removing the regions of high electro-magnetic field density from the areas that are occupied by human tissues when the wireless product is “in use”.[7][11] This method reduces the aperture size of the antenna and achieves a higher degree of electrical stability in the presence of the human body.[15] It also reduces in-band “common-mode” noise from conducted power on the device chassis so that the approach also enables integration of multiple radios into a smaller device with reduced interference.[18]

Sarantel’s topology and feed system is designed to provide electromagnetic isolation, rather than to resonate with the box as is the case with most conventional antennas.[19]

Sarantel also provides MIMO solutions for mobile WiMax, 3G-LTE and WiFi IEEE801.11n where high data throughput and range depend on the isolation between the multiplicity of receiving and transmitting antennas on the box.

The manufacturing process

Sarantel has manufactured their own products since the company’s formation in 2000 using a highly accurate three dimensional photolithography process.

In 2008, the company finalized the development of its 3rd generation production process. With each generation the company improves scalability of the process and lowers the cost of production.


Sarantel’s antennas exist inside the following types of applications:

Application Examples
Satellite Radio XM Satellite Radio MyFi
PDAs/PNDs HP iPAQ RX5900 Travel Companion, Hertz NeverLost
Sports & Games Garmin Colorado, SkyGolf SG1,2,2.5,5
Telematics/Trackers Pocket Finder, Flextrack Lommy
Lone Worker Protection RomTrac
Location Based Services TomTom Mobile 5
Satellite Phone Iridium
Military SATHI PDA plus multiple customer confidential products ranging from munitions to tactical radios


  1. ^ Symmetricom Inc. 10-K For 6/30/94 (SEC File 0-02287) Accession Number 82628-94-5
  2. ^ Symmetricom Inc. 8-K For 2/10/99 (SEC File 0-02287) Accession Number 1012870-99-627 Ex-99.3 News Release Dated 2/11/1999: “Symmetricom Announces Agreement to Sell Linfinity Microelectronics to Microsemi Corporation”.
  3. ^ Symmetricom Inc. Press Release: San Jose, Calif. September 30, 1999: “Symmetricom Completes Acquisition of HP’s Communication Synchronisation Business”.
  4. ^ Symmetricom Inc. Press Release: San Jose, Calif. March 30, 2000: “Symmetricom Announces Sale of its GPS Business”.
  5. ^ Symmetricom Inc. Press Release: San Jose, Calif. November 7, 2000: “Symmetricom Sells UK Antenna Business to Sarantel Ltd., Retaining Ownership in Emerging Mobile Antenna Business”.
  6. ^ Symmetricom Inc. 10-Q For 9/30/00 (SEC File 0-02287) Accession Number 1012870-0-5712
  7. ^ a b c BusinessWire, November 7, 200. “Symmetricom Sells U.K. Antenna Business to Sarantel Ltd., Retaining Ownership In Emerging Mobile Antenna Business”, bnet. Retrieved August 28, 2008
  8. ^ “Due Diligence: Sarantel”, The Chilli. Retrieved on 2008-08-06 A single very complete account of Sarantel as a company and what they do with additional analysis and perspective. Great article.
  9. ^ Sarentel Company Overview
  10. ^ a b Sarantel Home Page
  11. ^ a b c Leisten, O.P., Ffoulkes-Jones, G. ‘Performance of a Miniature Dielectrically Loaded Volute Antenna’ Institute of Navigation Conference, Palm Springs, 12–15 September 1995
  12. ^ a b c d e O. Leisten, J.C. Vardaxoglou, T. Schmid, B. Rosenberger, E. Agboraw, Niels Kuster, George Nicolaidis, “Miniature Dielectric-loaded Personal Telephone Antennas with Low User Exposure”, Electronics Letters, August 1998, Vol. 34, No. 17, pp. 1628–1629
  13. ^ a b Leisten, O.P., Vardaxoglou, J.C., McEvoy, P., Seager, R., Wingfield, A., ‘Miniature dielectrically-loaded quadrifilar antenna for Global Positioning System (GPS)’, Electronics Letters, 25th October 2001, Vol.37, No.22, pp. 1321-132
  14. ^ a b c d Leisten, O.P., ‘The Case for Isolating the Antenna from the Box’, IEE AMS-2002, 28–29 May 2002, pp 7/1-7/7
  15. ^ a b c Leisten, O.P., Wingfield, A., Commitment to Design for a Safety-Critical Function Reliable GPS Antenna Technology for E-911 in Handsets, Institute of Navigation Conference, Portland, Oregon, 9–12 September 2003
  16. ^ O.P.Leisten, A. Wingfield: Dielectrically Loaded Antennas with Low Proximity Effects for 3G Applications, 12th International Conference on Antennas and Propagation ICAP2003, University of Exeter, UK, 31st March-3rd April 2003, Vol 1 pp 31-34
  17. ^ O.P. Leisten, B. Rosenberger: Miniature Dielectric Loaded Antennas with Low SAR, 10th International Conference on Wireless Communications, Calgary, Canada,6-8th July 1998, Proceedings Vol.1 pp 196-205
  18. ^ O.P. Leisten. The Big Picture – A Vision of an Antenna Technology for Future Mobility Products, Antenna Systems and Short-Range Wireless 2005, Santa Clara Marriott, USA, 22nd-23rd September 2005
  19. ^ 8. Leisten, O.P., ‘The Case for Isolating the Antenna from the Box’, IEE AMS-2002, 28th-29th May, 2002, pp 7/1-7/7

Further reading

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