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CSG Snaps Up Ascade

Ray Le Maistre
7/16/2012
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Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) giant CSG Systems International Inc. (Nasdaq: CSGS) has boosted its interconnect billing and management capabilities with the acquisition of Swedish firm Ascade AB , which supplies operators with software that helps them manage their wholesale voice and data connections.

CSG is paying $19 million in cash for a company that generated revenues of around $16 million and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) of about $1.2 million in 2011. Ascade has more than 75 customers, including Orange (NYSE: FTE), Etisalat , Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY), Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN), Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD).


CSG already has an interconnect billing and management system from its acquisition in 2010 of Intec Telecom Systems, a deal that gave it around 250 wholesale billing customers. (See CSG to Buy Intec for £237M.)

Ascade's interconnect system, though, goes beyond billing as it includes multiple modules that will become increasingly important as service providers interconnect with a more diverse range of partners. These additional capabilities include: Agreement Management; Product Portfolio Management; Trading Management; Routing Optimization; Routing Provisioning; and Billing & Auditing.

What CSG particularly likes, though, is AscadeAssure, a call quality assurance probe that is used for outbound CLI (calling line ID) verification, FAS (false answer supervision) detection, MOS (mean opinion score) quality testing, and inbound fraudulent SIM box detection.

Bringing Ascade on board means CSG will have additional product capabilities to offer to its existing customer base, have new customers to pitch supporting services to, and be able to build a stronger set of capabilities with which it can pitch for new business.

CSG tells Light Reading it intends to immediately offer AscadeAssure to its interconnect systems customer base.

Both CSG's and Ascade's full portfolios will be supported initially, but the combined product set will be assessed with a view to potential integration.

CSG competes with the likes of Subex Ltd. , Telarix Inc. and Telesens International Ltd. in the interconnect systems market.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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