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Wheelings & Dealings: Mavenir's Purchase of Ulticom Signals LTE's Growing Diameter Demands

By Paula Bernier January 15, 2015

In a move to help its telecom carrier customers better address growth in mobile data traffic and VoLTE deployments, Mavenir Systems this week announced plans to buy Ulticom for a reported $20 million. The deal is expected to close this month.

The acquisition of Ulticom represents just the latest in a string of purchases in the Diameter signaling category. For example, in 2013 Oracle bought Tekelec, and Sonus Networks snapped up Performance Technologies for $30 million.

Infonetics Research a year ago this month forecast that global Diameter signaling controller revenue will grow at a 54 percent compound annual growth rate through 2018. Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, F5 Networks, Huawei, and smaller companies like Diametriq and NetNumber, are among the other companies in the Diameter signaling solution arena.

Mavenir sells software-based networking solutions – including evolved packet core, IMS, and session border controller functionality – that allow mobile service providers to deliver 4G-based services. Ulticom brings to the table its DSC, an offering that Mavenir has been reselling to five tier-one mobile operators globally. Both Mavenir and Ulticom, like so many vendors in the communications space, have been pushing the idea of network functions virtualization and software-defined networking.

Back in July, NFVZone did an interview with Mavenir in which Ian Maclean, the company’s vice president of strategy and marketing, talked about the rollout and benefits of VoLTE and the virtualized EPC solution Mavenir had unveiled at Mobile World Congress last year.

The April 2013 issue of TMC’s INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine talked about Ulticom’s unveiling of a white-label and software-only version of its Diameter signaling controller product.

“Ulticom’s DSC underscores our commitment to the evolution of the signaling industry. Smart devices, consumer demand for data centric features, and new network technologies like LTE are placing ever-increasing demands on mobile networks,” said Bruce Swail, CEO of Ulticom, said at the time.

That same issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine featured a story from F5 Networks that explained why LTE needs Diameter signaling management. In it, Ben Volkow offered a history lesson on signaling in general as well as of Diameter, and listed the following six reasons why it’s important to deploy Diameter signaling management solutions in an LTE, or any IP-based network: the growth in Diameter signaling, the fragmentation of networks, the growth of usage patterns, the need to support new use cases, the fact that the move to an all-IP network significantly increases the amount of signaling, and the rise of new specs and trends like M2M and VoLTE.

And in an online Q&A just last month, Mavenir CTO Terry McCabe commented: “VoLTE is an inevitable technology evolution for the mobile operator community triggered by the all-IP nature of the LTE core networking technology. The deployment of VoLTE enables improved user experience for their customers while also creating the means to change their business model and innovate new services. It helps to consider VoLTE as an inflection point where technology and underpinnings have been introduced that form the basis of a wide range of new services. With Mavenir’s portfolio of solutions, operators can enhance relationships and offer enriched services.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Executive Editor, TMC

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