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Mavenir Spends $20M on Ulticom for Signaling

Sarah Thomas
1/13/2015
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Mavenir is opening up its wallet again. Just two months after it purchased Stoke, the company has announced it will acquire Diameter signaling vendor Ulticom for $20 million.

Unlike the Stoke purchase, which allowed the company to tackle a new line of business -- small cells -- Mavenir Systems Inc. 's Ulticom buy fits into its existing voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) story. Ulticom has a virtualized Diameter Signaling Controller (DSR), which enables networks to keep up with the growth in LTE data and increase in VoLTE deployments. Mavenir says it will also help achieve VoLTE interoperability between operator networks. (See Mavenir Buys Stoke for Security, Small Cell and Mavenir's Stoke Buy: Cheap at Twice the Price?)

Mavenir has resold private equity-owned Ulticom's signaling software in the past and expects the acquisition to close by the end of the month. At that time, it will gain 10 Tier 1 carrier customers, including two of the world's top 10 mobile network operators. (See Ulticom Agrees $90M Sale.)

Ulticom says its Diameter software is designed to scale in an NFV network, a story line that's been important to Mavenir as well. Light Reading caught up with Mavenir CEO Pardeep Kohil earlier this month, and he talked up the progress VoLTE has made in the past year, as well as Mavenir's own success, which he attributes to the absence of a hardware business. His competitors, which include speciality vendors like BroadSoft Inc. , Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) and the traditional infrastructure guys, have to learn how to build and support a network where hardware is used by five apps from five vendors, Kohil says. Mavenir already lives in that world. (See NetNumber Decrees the End of Signaling Silos.)

"We have been a leader in that space because we don't have hardware or a huge installed base to protect," Kohil told us. "Our revenue doesn't come from selling hardware. In the last one-and-a-half years, we have not signed a single contract where we sell hardware."


For more on signaling, head over to the Diameter routing content page on Light Reading.


Nokia Networks chooses Radisys' MRF
In other VoLTE and NFV-related news today, Mavenir partner Radisys Corp. (Nasdaq: RSYS) announced it will provide the Media Resource Function (MRF) component of media processing to Nokia Networks to help power its operator customers' VoLTE and voice-over-WiFi deployments based on IMS. (See Radisys Helps Nokia Enable VoLTE and Radisys, Mavenir Partner on 4G Voice in Europe & the US.)

Radisys is pitching a One MRF strategy, according to its Director of Marketing Ray Adensamer, in which it offers "one platform that can be hardware-based or software virtualized with however many nodes, but one set of capabilities and features that can support any type of application, conferencing, WebRTC and transcoding." Mavenir started working with the company last year with the software version of OneMRF, and Nokia is offering both hardware or the virtualized platform.

"In today's world, media processing is scattered, which makes it expensive," Adensamer says, adding that process occurs in session-border controllers, gateways, audio bridges, etc. "What IMS architecture tried to do is put it all in one spot, the MRF, and make sure all the control elements all share the same platform. Radisys embraced that religion of having that MRF, controlling it with open standards, so you can go into the operator, sell the initial VoLTE deal and have the infrastructure to build into the future."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/13/2015 | 1:46:24 PM
signaling protocols
Mavenir's acquisition is timely in light of the NetNumber article published today. Mavenir does not do SS7/C7 and DNS/ENUM signaling. It acquired Ulticom to be forward thinking about SIP and Diameter, which are growing with VoLTE/LTE, but I wonder if it will hurt it that it would require operators to support multiple disparate systems. It hasn't hurt other signaling providers so far, but NetNumber, at least, thinks it will going forward. 
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