Cisco plans to acquire the Norwegian startup Working Group Two (WG2) for $150 million.
Norway’s Telenor spun out WG2 as a standalone company in 2017. And Cisco has been involved from the beginning of the company as WG2 built a cloud-native mobile core that can be purchased by mobile operators.
In a blog post yesterday, Masum Mir, general manager for Cisco Networking’s Provider Mobility business, said the company was buying WG2 “to turbo charge our recently announced Mobility Services Platform.
“WG2 and Cisco have a unique synergy,” wrote Mir. “We share a common ambition to deliver a global, programmable mobile core as a service and are remarkably aligned to this shared vision.”
He said WG2 brings technology crucial to the enterprise market including complete authentication, provisioning, voice, messaging and data services.
WG2 CEO Erlend Prestgard and CTO Werner Eriksen will join Cisco and report to Mir along with the existing 90 WG2 employees.
Fierce Wireless spoke with Prestgard earlier this year, where he explained the origin of WG2. He said that when he was working at Telenor, the operator created a group to build some small applications on top of Telenor’s core. Although the applications it wanted to build were not complex, the group found it nearly impossible to build the apps because the core network was proprietary and extremely complex. Ultimately, the engineers realized that in order to build modern-day applications on a telco’s core network, they needed to start from scratch with a cloud-native core.
As of May, WG2 was selling its cloud-native mobile core to a few operators, including Telenor’s Vimla MVNO brand; the Hutchinson Group, which owns 11 MVNOs around the world; and the Hawaiian MVNO Mobi.
Mir wrote that WG2’s cloud-native mobile services platform is fully API consumable and highly programmable. “The platform uses the web-scale playbook and operating models, which makes it a natural fit with our Mobility Services Platform,” he said.
Although to date, it seems as if WG2 has been primarily selling its mobile core software to MVNOs, Cisco may also use it for the internet of things (IoT).
Cisco introduced its new Mobility Platform in February. The Silicon Valley vendor said its Mobility Platform would “help CSPs drive mass-scale IoT,” especially for industries ranging from automotive, utility, logistics, manufacturing, mining and healthcare.
“Cisco Mobility Services offers simplified solutions offered as-a-service to deliver advanced mobile IoT use-cases at scale,” wrote Cisco in a February blog.
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