Why would a private equity company buy a telecom network assurance and optimization company? Because the cloud is where the money is.

November 30, 2018

5 Min Read
Cloud Dynamics Underpin MYCOM OSI's Acquisition

There's a good chance that the acquisition of telecom network assurance and optimization specialist MYCOM OSI by private equity firm Inflexion, announced Wednesday, might have escaped the attention of many in the industry. (See MYCOM OSI Acquired by Inflexion .)

But it's worth noting for a couple of reasons.

The telco cloud is becoming a reality, as an architecture but also as a strategy: Network operators are not only building cloud-oriented platforms (slowly but surely) as they introduce software-defined, virtualized functions, but are also embracing the opportunities of the public cloud, where some applications can be hosted to good effect. (For example, see Is X by Orange Showing Us the OTT Future for Telcos?)

The vendor community is also embracing this shift, some quicker than others: Cloud native is the new mantra. (See The Mobile Network Is Becoming a Cloud Service, Affirmed Networks Launches 'Mobile Network as a Service' and Netcracker Launches Telco Cloud-as-a-Service.)

MYCOM OSI has focused its R&D efforts on developing a cloud-native system that comprises service management, fault management and performance management capabilities with integrated analytics and automated processes for the management of physical and virtual elements, and it's been paying off.

It has a very neat portfolio of customers, including big names such as Deutsche Telekom, Reliance Jio, Safaricom, Sprint, Telefónica, Telenor, T-Mobile, Verizon and Vodafone, but where it has really been making its mark is in developing a suite of assurance and analytics tools that run on cloud platforms, whether private or public. (See How RJio Built India's Most Automated Network.)

What has helped is that it has a live reference customer -- UK operator Three -- that is clearly very happy with the results, and it also has at least one major Tier 1 operator that it currently can't name using its cloud-based system. It also has a very useful supporter and partner in the form of Red Hat, which is due to become part of the bigger beast that is IBM. (See Three UK's Core Network Transformation Requires New Approach to Assurance, Three UK to Monitor Its Telco Cloud with MYCOM OSI and MYCOM OSI & Red Hat Team on Telco Cloud Assurance and How Red Hat Could Give IBM's Telco Strategy a New Lease of Life .)

The public cloud option is becoming particularly key as network operators realize that there are efficiencies (financial, time and resource) to be had from running functions on public cloud platforms such as AWS (in fact, particularly AWS, which has really got its act together in terms of meeting the needs of the telco community).

Network and service management tools look like a ripe prospect for this kind of deployment, but of course to make that work, the tools have to be developed to work efficiently in a cloud environment, which is what the MYCOM OSI team has managed to achieve. At Light Reading's recent Software-Defined Operations and the Automated Network event in London, MYCOM's President and CTO, Mounir Ladki, noted that two of the UK's four mobile operators will soon have their service assurance data processed on AWS using the vendor's cloud-native tools. (See MYCOM OSI Discusses Assurance Cloud.)

So it's walking the cloud-native walk and has live customers to show off.

But importantly, it also has its messaging "on point" and that's not always the case in this sector. In legacy terms it's an OSS company, but these days MYCOM OSI presents itself as a company offering cloud-hosted "Assurance, Automation & Analytics" tools, a very neat encapsulation of what operators can benefit from right now but also what they will need in the more cloud-oriented, 5G future.

In Light Teading's 5G Puzzle, MYCOM OSI is a company enabling two key pieces -- Next-Gen OSS and AI/Next-Gen Analytics. (See Piecing Together the 5G Big Picture.)

What are the key technologies and processes that will underpin successful, full 5G deployments? Check out our 5G Big Picture Prime Reading report to find out.

So as a company it has adapted, innovated, won business as a result and has its messaging in line with the hottest industry trends that tie in with what is needed in a 5G world, which, let's face it, equates to the next generation of telecoms. That sounds like something every vendor should be doing, and be able to do, but it's an exception to the rule.

That enough is worth noting. But now private equity has stepped up and thrown some cash at the company: Neither MYCOM OSI nor Inflexion have announced any financial details (and Inflexion has not responded to questions about investment and strategic plans) but financial industry reports suggest the transaction is worth north of US$120 million.

What next? Hopefully Inflexion will invest further and help build MYCOM further and then it'll be in apposition to capitalize in some way on its investment in a few years time. And it looks like a decent bet because any company that has its cloud-native ducks in a row right now, and has market traction, is well placed to grow in the next few years as operators put together the various pieces of the 5G puzzle they will need.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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