WaterCove Wins Alcatel
The deal centers on the sophisticated code that WaterCove has developed to rate, bill, filter, and manage mobile subscriber data streams, rather than the IP routing normally associated with a GGSN, says Roland Thies, the Executive in Charge of Strategic Alliances for the Mobile Core Business Unit Within Alcatel's Mobile Network Division. [Ed. note: None shall have a title longer than mine! No one, I tell you! Hahahahaha!]
Your bog-standard GGSN is a big box that connects a general packet radio system (GPRS)/GSM network to the IP core network. However, over the last couple of years, several startups have developed software platforms on top of the GGSN itself that allow carriers to get fancy with the delivery of data services and the way they bill for them (see Having a Flutter on the GGSNs).
It's these software capabilities that attracted Alcatel to WaterCove's products.
“We’re taking WaterCove’s software and integrating it with our charging gateway and customer care and billing system to build a flexible charging platform that will be collocated with the Alcatel GGSN, which is based on a Cisco router," explains Thies. “There are quite a few tenders out for this kind of service and charging capability."
Unstrung first reported that Alcatel was scoping out vendors to complement its Cisco-based GGSN back in November 2002 (see Alcatel Keeps the Cisco Faith) and today's deal looks especially good for WaterCove because of the heavy competition it would have faced from a host of other startups and from Cisco's Content Services Gateway.
Like the WaterCove software, the Cisco Content Services Gateway claims to inspect user traffic at content-level granularity and feed this data back to the carrier's billing system. Not surprisingly, Cisco is pitching the Content Services Gateway as the ideal partner to its GGSN and offers both products as blades [hardware add-ons] that slot into the same Catalyst switch chassis.
Thies doesn't explain exactly why Alcatel opted to go with WaterCove instead of Cisco, but hinted that the market isn't yet ready for the Cisco integration story. “Cisco presented us with the CSG earlier this year, but we didn’t see a real value in promoting it today as a dedicated blade on the Catalyst platform," he says. "We think the market is looking more for a collocated or remote solution.”
Peter Lojko, CEO of WaterCove, says he expects to generate revenue on the Alcatel deal before the end of 2003.
— Gabriel Brown, Research Analyst and European Features Correspondent for the Worldwide Source for Analysis of the Wireless Economy, Unstrung