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Amdocs Shines SON Acquisitions on RAN

Sarah Thomas

Amdocs is using its recent acquisitions of Actix and Celcite to push itself as a software SON player in the radio network ahead of Mobile World Congress.

The traditionally IT company officially launched its Self Optimizing Networks (SON) software platform on Monday. Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) software platform is aimed at helping operators optimize their Radio Access Network (RAN) resources to better manage the customer experience.

Essentially, it is Amdocs rebranding of Actix, a product company it bought for $120 million in September, and Celcite, a follow-on services acquisition it made in November for $129 million. Amdocs roots are in IT and OSS telecom network support system but the company is now moving deeper into the radio network. Amdocs has to face both traditional network equipment providers like Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) moving into its space, alongside its IT competitors like Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) acquiring companies to put up a bigger fight. (See M&A Mayhem: Who's Next for Oracle?.)

"This SON announcement is timed to announce something in relation to MWC and articulate to market that Amdocs is now heavily focusing on network," Heavy Reading analyst Ari Banerjee tells Light Reading.

Amdocs says the value of the acquisitions is that both companies' location-based intelligence and optimization platforms work with its OSS/BSS systems to help operators better monitor network issues, decide what customers need top priority, and optimize the customer experience. Banerjee, however, isn't convinced there has been any integration with existing Amdocs solutions on the BSS/OSS side yet. (See Amdocs to Acquire Celcite, Amdocs Dives Into Mobile SPIT Pool, and Location Intelligence Is the New Black.)

But, given that Actix and Celcite have been in the space for awhile, Amdocs can already claim to have deployments at several global service providers, including TIM Brasil and three others in Latin America.

For its part, Amdocs says its "new" platform is designed to lower opex, improve the experience for high-revenue customers, and more efficiently and automatically manage heterogeneous networks (HetNets), including LTE, small cells, and WiFi.

Neil Coleman, director of marketing of Actix, says it also shares a similar objective with software-defined networks (SDN): really smart analytics and insight into network activity to control the network and deliver better quality of experience.

"Going further down the line, along with NFV [network functions virtualization], they are all part of a broader trend, and the areas could merge," he says. "SON is very focused on RAN, but with Amdocs broader footprint touching other areas, we are well placed to exploit the convergence of SDN, SON, and NFV."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
2/11/2014 | 11:55:28 AM
net neutrality?
GigaOm has an interesting piece today looking at a different aspect of this news, the potential net neutrality concerns of the network prioritizing not just customers but potentially content on the web. The platform has the power to do that, but it's up to the operators if they take advantage of it or not. 

Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
2/11/2014 | 11:10:42 AM
Re: SON: Sports-Optimized Networks
Amdocs said it's already deployed at TIM Brazil. Really just a trial planned?
User Rank: Lightning
2/11/2014 | 5:49:38 AM
Re: Amdocs in the RAN
It's tough and IMHO the developing market is yet to see an infliction point where they can invest in SON or automation or integrated OSS-automation. Also the role of C-SON in LTE/LTE-A with its distributed SON or in a het-net strategy is unclear. Overall the idea is great and exciting to see the details.
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/11/2014 | 12:37:09 AM
SON: Sports-Optimized Networks
Particularly exciting about this announcement is that Amdocs's SON wiill apparently get one heckuva trial this year, when TIM Brasil does a limited rollout in select areas during the World Cup -- which is expected to precede a nationwide rollout.

(Thereby, it's a particularly important trial, too, as preparations gradually get underway for the Rio 2016 Olympics!)
User Rank: Light Beer
2/10/2014 | 3:02:00 PM
Re: Amdocs in the RAN

Indeed - SON for the RAN comes together with NFV/SDN FOR 'configurable' eNodeBs to create the 'PC Revolution for the RAN' 

But need to see how Centralized OSS SON will play with Decentralized Real time SON http://bit.ly/LvCkQq and how they will will come togather in Hybrid SON - See: http://bit.ly/1ipMBdf
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
2/10/2014 | 10:52:02 AM
Amdocs in the RAN
Amdocs has been in the networks business for awhile, but this is its first big push into the RAN, well timed with MWC. It's a tough competitive environment, but its acquisitions should provide the right mix to help it compete. It'll be interesting to see how it really integrates both with its OSS/BSS capabilities.
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