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Openet: The Legal Brakes Are Off

Ray Le Maistre
10/3/2012
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Two years after finding himself on the wrong end of a legal challenge from Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), Niall Norton is feeling happier with the world.

His company, Irish policy and charging management systems specialist Openet Telecom Ltd. , prevailed in the ensuing court battle and now the CEO is ready to focus totally on his company's further growth prospects once again. (See Openet Wins Legal Battle With Amdocs.)

"I'm glad to be out the other side. On a personal level this is a great result," Norton tells Light Reading.

At a corporate level "this is going to make things a lot easier. The case cast a shadow over negotiations with customers and partners. With this behind us, conversations will be easier and quicker. This creates certainty around Openet and will allow us to take the brakes off the company," he adds.

It's not like Openet ground to a halt during the past two years. The Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) company, which now employs about 1,000 staff, has been growing at about 30 percent each year and its revenues hit €92 million (US$119 million) in 2011, according to Norton. "We expect to see that growth rate continue, possibly even accelerate, especially now that 3G is being monetized and 4G is coming in, with cloud services, Wi-Fi integration. ... This all broadens our addressable market."

So with the "brakes off," what comes next? Greater collaboration with major vendors and systems integrators (SIs) is something Norton is keen on. "We've been doing a lot direct but have also been selling through some of the large vendors and SIs and now we can accelerate those relationships."

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (which has been working with Openet on the development of charging models for emerging markets) and integrators such as Accenture , IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Wipro Ltd. (NYSE: WIT) are "important partners. ... We need to be Switzerland and be able to work with everyone."

What about growing through acquisitions? "There are three or four things we've been looking at -- there are a lot of things we'd like to do. ... We're looking at how we might integrate other technologies with our portfolio," says the CEO without giving anything specific away.

And what about raising money? Openet had been looking at an IPO before the Amdocs legal challenge hit Norton's inbox. "I can't really say. ... There are a couple of choices we can make and now they all get easier -- we can move forward with a more aggressive pace. We've been talking with the board [regarding any IPO plans]. The Facebook scenario has caused a lot of anxieties. But we are a disruptive company in a positive way."

At a product level, the company has been pushing ahead with client-based software developments, having launched its interaction gateway, and working with operators and enterprises (through integrator channels) on how to get the best out of, and monetize, Wi-Fi. Norton also hints at interest in developing or investing in a payments system but is no more specific than that. (See Openet Launches Interaction Gateway.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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