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Managed Services

Ericsson Buys North American Integrator

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has added to its already extensive professional services empire with the acquisition of the Strategy and Technology Group of North American consulting and systems integration specialist InCode Telecom Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition will add 45 staff (based in the US and Canada) to Ericsson's current 40,000-plus Global Services payroll, which already includes more than 10,000 consulting and systems integration experts. InCode is to operate as the Strategy Consulting Group of Ericsson North America.

Ericsson hasn't acquired the whole company, though, as InCode will hang on to its enterprise mobility consulting practice.

Alpharetta, Ga.-based InCode has worked with many of North America's main fixed, mobile, and cable network operators during the past 10 years, including AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cox Communications Inc. , Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), and T-Mobile US Inc. . It has also worked with vendors, including Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) (as well as Ericsson), and investors, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and The Carlyle Group LLC .

This isn't the first time InCode has been acquired, though. The company, originally called InCode Wireless, was bought by VeriSign Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN) in 2006 and then sold on to its management team in 2008, which renamed it InCode Telecom.

Ericsson has spent years building up a significant Global Services business, which provides a broad range of consulting, integration, planning, development, and managed services to carriers worldwide. The Swedish giant generated nearly 42 percent of its 2010 second-quarter revenues from its Global Services division. (See Parts Problems Hurt Ericsson's Q2.)

Ericsson has made a number of acquisitions that have boosted its Global Services division, including the purchase of Italian systems integrator Pride SpA in January 2010 and Turkish firm Bizitek in May 2009. (See Ericsson Snaps Up Systems Integrator and Ericsson Buys Turkish Integrator.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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