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Anite Picks a Fight in the Packet Core

Ray Le Maistre

Test system vendor Anite has expanded its business horizons beyond its familiar territory of wireless devices and the radio access network, and is taking on some hefty opponents in a bid to win business in the 4G evolved packet core (EPC) test system market.

The company this week launched Triton, its LTE wireless core testing system that comprises a base hardware platform that can run a host of test applications. The initial launch comes with some pre-loaded applications, including those that monitor signaling loading, assess network asset availability, and track device usage. (See Anite Launches LTE Packet Core Test Tool.)

That puts Anite plc head-to-head with the likes of Tektronix Communications , EXFO Inc. (Nasdaq: EXFO; Toronto: EXF), Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA), and Spirent Communications plc . So why launch into a niche (but important) market already heaving with experienced incumbents? (See China Mobile Research Institute Uses Spirent for EPC Testing, Tektronix Tests Diameter Performance at LTE Core, and EXFO Aids VoLTE Tests.)

Richard Jacklin, Anite's business development director, says the LTE market is still at its early stages and that there's "a lot of evolution still to come and a lot of complexity… and the constant push towards virtualization" that will result in a much broader set of tests needing to be conducted on the heart of the 4G network. Having a hardware platform that can run multiple test applications, and which can be used in the lab and in the field, is "disruptive… the current solutions in the market don't really offer that."

He adds: "We're used to competing against larger players. In the handset test market we compete with companies like Anritsu and R&S. We believe we're more agile and there are people in the market who have told us there is a real need for a product like Triton."

Want to know more about network test tools developments? Check out our dedicated Test & Measurement content channel here on Light Reading.

The EPC test system market could be worth about £100 million (US$168 million) per year, reckons the Anite man, so gaining a slice of that would be helpful for Anite, which generated revenues of £109.2 million ($184 million) in its most recent financial year to the end of April 2014. (See this full year report.)

Anite hasn't jumped into this market alone, though: The core functionality of the Triton product was developed by fellow UK developer Telesoft Technologies. "They developed it, and we are helping to productize it, tailoring it for the telecom market and using our industry connections," states Jacklin.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
8/4/2014 | 12:51:26 PM
Re: Low risk gamble

Your statement is one that has led many companies wrong.  If you make a product that is competing in an existing market, then it needs to be complete and compete in that market.  You can't be short features or high on price because you do well in an adjacent market.

From the article, the notion that a single product is good for lab and field makes the assumption that the buyer for the two segments have the same needs or judge the product features in the same way.

In this case, the product has to stand alone in its lab application and meet the needs of the lab customer.  The fact that is works for the field customer is irrelevant.  If you can meet that need, then having approval in another department could well have some value.  The challenge is that the people selling in the lab environment are not standing still.  That means normally that you have to apply enough R&D to keep up in BOTH markets.  

I am not saying that its impossible.  But this notion that its low risk or an easy sale is just wrong.  The right way to look at it is that you are entering an existing market with a significant amount of R&D for free.  If the incremental investment yields incremental return than it can be a sound investment.  Don't limit that investment to R&D.  Sales and Marketing have to be done to get to the new client within the exisiting customer.  Don't assume that selling the Field Team has done any work in selling the Lab Team.


User Rank: Blogger
8/4/2014 | 9:22:26 AM
Low risk gamble
As ANite hasn't had to invest in the development of the key capabilities here, this looks like a relatively low-risk but worthwhile gamble, especially as telcos get used to and embrace the concept of using a single hardware platform to perform multiple tasks.  
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