GENBAND takes dive into residential OTT voice game with fring acquisition

GENBAND is enhancing its cloud portfolio for the over the top (OTT) voice market by purchasing fring's OTT mobile IP communications service, a deal that will enable them to expand their consumer cloud portfolio.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source told Reuters the purchase price was $50 million.

Hardly a stranger to the cloud market, fring's white-label solution complements GENBAND's NUViA™ white-label Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) offering.

"We said if our carrier customers need over-the-top service they would need an over-the-top platform," said David Walsh, CEO of GENBAND in an interview with FierceTelecom. "It would take a long time to build a high-quality, feature-rich over-the-top infrastructure quickly."

While they looked at a lot of OTT providers, only four including Skype and fring had a large user base and a developed platform a service provider could scale for its own subscriber base.

"The one that just popped up and had a robust feature capability but also the ability to scale was fring," Walsh said. "We heard from our customers, and we have 7-800 at GENBAND today, they're all looking to launch over-the-top services in the next 18 months and don't have the time to go and build something."

Despite fring's initial focus on the mobile market, the vendor said it can also provide its growing telco and cable MSO customer base with a quick way to add OTT mobile capabilities as a new offering. By using the service provider's existing billing relationship with customers, the fring service can be added to existing service plans.

Service providers will be able to take advantage of a white-label service that includes capabilities for mobile group video chat, two-way video chat, voice-only calls and text chat.

GENBAND's instincts are on track.

According to TeleGeography, international telephony may have rose 5 percent in 2012, but long-distance providers face threats from OTT such as Skype and fring. Skype, in particular, saw that voice and video traffic grew 44 percent in 2012.

"International minutes went from 275 billion to 550 billion minutes, but at the same time if you look inside that growth, over-the-top providers such as Skype, Viber, and fring went from 0 to 150 billion minutes," Walsh said. "Almost all of the growth has been over the top and now in 7 years they are 30 percent of the market."

For more:
- see the release
- Reuters has this article

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