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CSG targets 5G monetization with Tango Telecom deal

CSG is adding 4G and 5G policy control and monetization capabilities to its portfolio via the acquisition of long-time tech partner Tango Telecom.

Financial terms were not announced, but the deal brings together two companies that have been collaborating – largely through CSG integrations of Tango Telecom's tech – for about a decade.

CSG, which closed the deal on May 5 without much fanfare, added about 70 employees as a result. United Mongolia, a supplier of mobile and fixed phone services, IPTV and broadband services, is among service providers that have recently rolled out a CSG-Tango combination.

A big focus of CSG's acquisition of Ireland-based Tango Telecom, which adds real-time messaging and policy control to CSG's tech stack, will involve 5G monetization. Underneath that, it involves elements such as outbound notifications, proximity-based messaging and upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

Common use cases center around data plans and what options are presented as customers near their data limits, or a system that allows customers to pay for premium – and possibly temporary – access to additional bandwidth if, for example, they required it to stream a live sporting event.

"If you think about 5G use cases, they'll be far more interactive, and Tango's policy control gives us a lot of those critical capabilities," said Ken Kennedy, CSG's COO and head of revenue management and digital monetization.

"It's that real-time enablement of the use cases that are really going to be prevalent, even more so in a 5G world."

Another potential opportunity involves the deeper monetization of the Internet of Things.

"I think a big question when you look further in the future is what's going to happen with all of the connected devices in the IoT," said Brian Shepherd, CSG's CEO.

"We've all been investing in IoT, but nobody's making any real money off of it. But the number of connected devices, in the billions, continues to grow … how that gets monetized, I think, is going to be quite interesting."

More M&A opportunities could come knocking

The Tango acquisition expands CSG's tech portfolio and policy control expertise. But it also enters the picture as the company encounters deals in which existing service providers or prospects request that CSG to take on the full responsibility of the program.

As those instances become more commonplace, it has opened the door for CSG to explore the acquisition of certain vendor partners that provide key pieces of the overall puzzle, Kennedy said.

A similar situation cropped up in 2018, when CSG bought Forte Payment Systems, a company that had been serving as CSG's electronic funds transfer partner.

Shepherd hinted that there could be more M&A to come.

"CSG is going to become a more consistent acquirer, and we're going to be partner-friendly," said Shepherd, an exec who joined CSG in 2016 and took the helm as CEO on January 1.

"Where it makes sense for us to actually own the asset, you'll see us do more acquisitions."

And that process is taking shape as CSG looks to further diversify its business. Cable remains CSG's largest industry vertical, followed by the telco service provider sector, but its wholesale interconnect business is the company's fastest growing, according to Shepherd.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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