Oracle isn’t quite done shopping in the telecom market. On Monday it announced it is acquiring Tekelec, a company that specializes in controlling the flow of data throughout mobile and wireline networks.
In February, Oracle announced it would buy VoIP signaling vendor Acme Packet for $1.7 billion. The terms of the Tekelec deal weren’t disclosed. Once it closes on both investments, Oracle is set to become a signaling powerhouse.
Tekelec specializes in the signaling protocols and load balancing technologies that prevent mobile networks from getting overloaded. For instance, the outages Verizon experienced on its LTE network in late 2011 were partially attributable to signaling overload. Meanwhile, Acme Packet makes session border controllers (SBCs), which manages VoIP and multimedia control traffic that pass between carrier and enterprise networks.
Oracle, however, will get more out of Tekelec than just signaling expertise. Tekelec is also a big player in the traffic-shaping world. Mobile operators use its policy servers to prioritize bits from certain type of applications – and certain subscribers’ – over others. The result is a bunch of things most of you don’t often find pleasant, such as throttling back your data speeds when you exceed your monthly cap or detecting when you use your phone as a mobile hotspot and charging you extra for it.
But eventually those same policy management features will be used for a much broader range of features and tailored data plans. Jasper Wireless is using Tekelec traffic shaping technology to make data flow more smoothly in the internet of things, for example. And operators are weighing new types of tiered data plans that allow customers to customize their network connections based on the types of apps they use.
“Oracle has in the past partnered to provide these capabilities, but by bringing them in-house it will have more opportunity to shape the roadmap and combine the capabilities in a more tightly-coupled solution,” Ovum Principal Analyst Dana Cooperson said in a research note. “Expect Oracle’s telecom-focused competitors (Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Ericsson, etc.) and it’s IT-focused competitors (HP, SAP, SAS Institute) to do more strategic soul-searching and, as their financial situation allows, to pursue acquisitions of their own.”