Mavenir Systems is one of the big proponents of 4G and LTE mobile networks. In fact, those are its main business – it’s a technology provider for operators, powering the transition to all-IP networks… for a price. Today it has something of a press blitz going on, with the announcement that it has expanded its product portfolio by acquiring a mobile messaging company, and that it has raised $40 million in Series E funding.
What’s the story?
Mavenir is a “converged” services provider for operators. In essence, it allows operators to tie voice, messaging, data and multimedia services into a single Internet-based service, and pump it to subscribers handsets. Converging all of their products into a single channel should make managing them far simpler for operators, and all for far more inter-operability and advanced services.
The company that it has acquired is called Airwide Solutions; a mobile messaging solutions provider. The reason that Airwide syncs in so nicely with Mavenir is that it realized, a long time ago, that consumer messaging was a pretty established market. People generally just like to send and receive messages – nothing much new there. So Airwide is dedicated to provider-side messaging services – applications, security, building new services and structures around them, enabling operators and others to use messaging for a variety of things. Importantly, Airwide is also very interested in converged services – it wants to create combined video, voice and messaging services over LTE/4G networks.
So what we have here is a company that provides 4G services to operators, buying a smaller company that also sells 4G services to operators. With the purchase, Mavenir has opened an entirely new branch of messaging-related services that it can add to its portfolio.
Pardeep Kohli, president and CEO, Mavenir Systems says “with [Airwide], Mavenir Systems will strengthen its already advanced product portfolio and will be well positioned to support global mobile operators in their evolution to 4G networks… with products such as our recently announced trio of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) solutions.”
How about that funding then?
Mavenir has also announced the closing of a major funding round as well. It has pulled in $40 million from a few old partners, and two new investors; August Capital and Cross Creek Capital. This brings the total investment that Mavenir has attracted since 2005 to $105 million.
What we think?
One of the arguments that Mavenir has been making for quite some time is that VoIP providers are going to murder mobile operators unless they adapt to challenge them. And it claims the way to do this is through converged 4G services. On the one hand, of course it claims that – it’s a converged 4G services provider after all. But it has a point – people use VoIP because it’s there, it’s reliable, and it’s usually cheaper than traditional operator services. VoIP-to-VoIP calls are magic, but even VoIP-to-phone is usually cheaper, especially for international calling. But people turn to these channels only when they’re better than what they get from their operator. If any operator can offer its subscribers a coherent all-in-one package that includes all of the services they want (voice calls, messaging, Internet, multimedia, etc.) as well as a reasonable VoLTE option, then they won’t have any NEED to go to VoIP providers like Skype.
And that is precisely what Mavenir is selling to the operators. And today it just added a pretty comprehensive messaging provider to that package.