JDSU, Symmetricom Snap Up Minnows
JDSU's move is significant as it takes its test division, formerly Acterna, back into the mobile carrier world, filling what has been a glaring hole in its portfolio. (See 2006 Top Ten: Tasty Testing Tidbits.)
Why back? Because Acterna used to have a unit called Wireless Service Verification, but it sold it -- to Casabyte! (See Casabyte Buys Acterna Unit.)
In a way, then, JDSU knows what it's getting for its (unspecified) money. Casabyte provides wireless monitoring tools that are used by carriers such as Cingular Wireless , Rogers Wireless Communications Inc. (NYSE: RCN; Toronto: RCM), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), Verizon Wireless , Telecom Italia Mobile SpA (Milan: TIM), and China Mobile Communications Corp. to test the quality of the services being delivered to customers. (See Casabyte Claims 2005 Growth.)
JDSU says the company has about 65 on staff and is profitable, with annual revenues that just tip into double-digit millions, mostly generated by North American customers. JDSU plans to market Casabyte's products globally and considers this acquisition "a beachhead" into the mobile space, though a spokesman wouldn't say whether that means there are more wireless acquisitions on the way.
With fixed/mobile convergence such a hot topic, adding wireless test capabilities to its large and widely used fixed-testing portfolio looked like a positive move, and JDSU's stock rose $0.73, more than 4 percent, to $17.93.
Over in the increasingly hot IPTV test market, Symmetricom is shelling out $16 million in cash for QoSmetrics, which sells probes and software tools that measure IP network metrics, with a particular focus on video stream and VOIP performance. (See QoSmetrics Launches Products, QoSmetrics Offers Video Test Tools, Triple Play Fires Up Test Sector, IPTV Triggers Test Action, and IPTV Put to the Test.) QoSmetrics has developed a video quality measurement technology called V-Factor, which has been deployed by IPTV service providers such as Telecom Italia (TIM) and Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. (NYSE: CHT).
While V-Factor has found support from the likes of Spirent Communications plc , it faces a challenge from another video test technology, MDI (Media Delivery Index), to become a de facto industry standard as carriers roll out IPTV services and deploy video quality measurement technologies. (See IPTV Testing Goes Standard and Spirent Adds V-Factor.)
Like JDSU, this acquisition takes Symmetricom into new territory. Its telecom business is currently focused on providing network timing and synchronization equipment to carriers. (See Telus Picks Symmetricom, Symmetricom Tests G.SHDSL, and Symmetricom Synchronizes.)
Symmetricom's share price is up 10 cents, about 1 percent, to $9.40 today.
To find out more about the companies in the service and network monitoring markets, check out Who Makes What: OSS and Who Makes What: Test & Measurement Gear for Next-Generation Networks.
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading