Creating a Compelling Carrier Comeback Solution

David Snow
David Snow

Summary Bullets:

  • Comverse’s Evolved Communications Suite (ECS) smartly builds on its acquisitions of NetCentrex and Solaiemes eight years apart, together with its own messaging products.
  • The company now has a compelling ‘carrier comeback’ offering, but the vital last box needs to be ticked: uptake.

As analysts, it is gratifying when something you think should happen does happen and then continues to develop. The company in question is Comverse and the case in point was its acquisition of NetCentrex in 2006. Current Analysis picked up this thread in a report titled “It’s the Softswitch, Stupid! NFV and SDN Show What’s Old is New Again” in January this year. Briefly, the report noted that NetCentrex was acquired by Comverse in 2006 but then disappeared from the radar, although the company always insisted that its asset was still important. The report went onto recommend that “Comverse should clarify its plans for the NetCentrex division … The company should start to invest in the division or consider a divestment …”

Then, right on cue, at Mobile World Congress in February, Comverse announced its Evolved Communications Suite (ECS) supporting IMS VoIP, RCS, IP Messaging, etc., which was indeed an evolution of the acquired NetCentrex product. We noted this in one of our many MWC 2014 show reports: MWC 2014: The IPSI Roundup – Virtual IMS Deployments are on the Horizon, But New Carrier Revenues are Needed Now. We mentioned it again in a blog post last month (Helping Carriers to ‘Get Their Voice Back’), noting that “this is one of the most ambitious approaches … an attempt not just to do better than an OTT or behave like an OTT, but to actually recapture subscribers lost to OTTs.” In essence, it’s a bold ‘carrier comeback’ proposition.

So, this month’s development was also good to see, when Comverse acquired Solaiemes to “complement the market leading Evolved Communications Suite (ECS)” and “accelerating Comverse’s Digital Services Portfolio with elements such as WebRTC Gateway and the Industry’s first GSMA accredited RCS API Gateway” (all italics mine). Press releases are always a matter of interpretation, but the Solaiemes acquisition certainly seems to ‘complement’ ECS by adding the last technology pieces to its ECS solution. Although Comverse already had RCS, the vital dimension brought by Solaiemes is APIs, whether they be RCS or WebRTC or, more likely, combinations of the two. ECS’s strategy is to help carriers recapture subscribers lost to OTTs and these APIs will not only help carriers keep them, but also extend their reach. It’s a good move and one much needed by a carrier community seemingly overwhelmed with the OTT onslaught.

However, as ever, there’s one thing missing, and that’s where the company’s ‘accelerating’ and ‘market leading’ claims now need justifying. So far, we haven’t seen any public evidence of traction, and while Comverse alludes to ECS RCS trials in North America, it’s not yet clear that the full ‘comeback’ solution is yet in play. If that starts to happen, then Comverse’s eight-year journey may just have resulted in a winner.

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