Amdocs has announced that it will add Celcite’s managed network services capability and SON solutions to Actix’s network optimisation and SON tools to form an enhanced Network Solutions business unit.
The two deals were executed in parallel but could not be announced concurrently due to negotiations taking place at different speeds. The Celcite acquisition is expected to close in two months.
Justin Paul, Head of Marketing, OSS, Amdocs said that the company sees Actix as primarily a product company and Celcite as a services business. Put the two together, and Amdocs thinks it will have a suite of network-focussed products and service capabilities that will enable operators to better manage their networks, services and customer experience programmes. Amdocs also sees a growing need for vendor-neutral SON solutions – divorcing operators from being reliant on NEP-provided products.
“Actix has 300-350 customers for its Analyzer product, and 50 for its geo-location ActixOne. Celcite has a relatively small product business but has impressive tools within its portfolio for network management and optimisation and quality assurance. 90% of its business is in managed services or IT type services,” Paul said.
NETWORK SOLUTIONS AND THE BIGGER PICTURE
The companies will be merged, along with existing Amdocs network OSS assets, to form a beefed up RAN division within the Network Solutions unit that will be headed up by Celcite CEO and founder Rahul Sharma.
Paul said, “For a long time, the OSS division has had three strategic pillars: the network, services, and customer experience. Prior to the Actix acquisition the customer experience part was the weakest of the pillars. Actix gives us specific use cases and capabilities on targeting customer experience with the ability to look at how the radio network is performing, allowing customers to differentiate their customers on experience.”
Going wider, Paul sees the Network Solutions unit plugging into a wider network strategy that brings together Amdocs’ core BSS business, and its policy assets (former Bridgewater) as well as its network inventory and service activation solutions.
“If you combine those you have a very strong platform for new CEM capabilities by tying in billing and network data and exercising policy control: a very strong platform big data
VENDOR INDEPENDENT SON
A further aspect of the Actix and Celcite deals is that Amdocs sees a need in the market for vendor-independent SON. Celcite has five SON contracts, Paul said, in market he described as “new and exciting”.
“Operators traditionally asked their own NEPs to optimise networks they provide. That seems to be a strange thing to do. Very few have stayed with one vendor across 2G/3G and LTE, and even though trend in LTE is single vendor network they often have multiple vendor for 2G and 3G. The problem in network optimisation is that most NEP solutions are tailored to their own equipment. We think it’s important to be neutral to the NEP and work across multiple technologies and vendors.”
So with Actix being viewed as strong in product, does that mean that product development will mainly come from those existing Actix products.
“That’s a good question,” said Paul, “I’m not sure how to answer it as we haven’t yet entered our post-merger integration talks and the details are yet to come out. Actix has a strong portfolio but that’s not to ignore there are some very experienced people in Celcite as well. Within the Network Solutions unit members of the Actix team will report to Rahul, but I don’t want to comment too much on post-integration. The two units will exist side by side pre-integration and then there will be an amalgam of the two in products and services capability.”
Other post-merger issues may include the usual working out of pre-existing commercial relationships that may conflict Amdocs’ other business areas. Actix has an existing partnership with NEC to supply its SON software to that company. Paul said he couldn’t answer if that relationship would continue, given there could be competitive overlap between NEC’s telecoms software business and Amdocs. Some sort of commercial resolution seems likely, though.
“Actix also has a deal to provide validation for a large Ericsson network in the USA,” he added, “and that’s not an issue going forward.”
For more on recent SON and network optimisation news see:
NSN says it can do multi-vendor SON
Cisco acquires Ubiquisys (and Intucell)
JDSU acquires Arieso
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