Enterprise computing giant Oracle is eyeballing a new market: telecom networks. It revealed today it just paid $1.7 billion for Acme Packet, a major supplier of gear that manages voice and data traffic on carrier networks.
Acme is the world-leader in a specialized bit of gear known as the session border controller (SBC), which – as its name implies – sits on the borders of where networks meet, managing the VoIP and multimedia signaling traffic that pass between them. Originally, the SBC controlled the voice sessions between operators, but Acme expanded its role in the enterprise, playing traffic cop between business and carrier networks.
Acme now has SBCs installed on the edges of 1900 carrier and enterprise networks and claims 89 of the world’s largest communications service providers as customers. Though Oracle is most certainly keen on Acme’s enterprise business, one of the biggest growth opportunities for the SBC is in the mobile operator 4G networks. As carriers gradually roll switch over from old 2G voice systems to 4G VoIP (using a technology called voice over LTE), they will deploy SBCs to move billions of VoIP sessions between networks.
But Oracle may be planning to take advantage of Acme’s relationships just as much as its products. Oracle already sells business and operational support system software to carriers. With Acme at its side it might be able to upsell them on its computing portfolio as well. Here’s LightReading’s take on the deal:
Oracle clearly sees Acme as a way to develop deeper ties with the [carrier/service provider] community and leverage Acme’s installed base to introduce its range of software and IT products, especially as cloud service architectures and Big Data analytics strategies take hold in the telecom sector.
It will be interesting to see if Oracle’s investment will now spark a run on other SBC makers like Sonus Network or Edgewater Networks.