Cisco acquires telecommunications software startup Working Group Two for $150M

Cisco acquires telecommunications software startup Working Group Two for $150M

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Cisco Systems Inc. is buying Working Group Two AS, a startup that develops software for powering carriers’ network infrastructure.

The companies announced the deal on Thursday. Cisco is set to pay $150 million for Working Group Two and expects to close the acquisition by October 29, the last day of its current fiscal quarter.

Norway-based Working Group Two sells a software platform, wgtwo, that carriers use to power their mobile core networks. A carrier’s mobile core network is the backend infrastructure that coordinates its cell towers. This infrastructure also processes SMS messages, secures users’ wireless connections and performs other important tasks.

According to Working Group Two, its wgtwo platform provides the software tools necessary to build a mobile core network in a prepackaged form. The platform can process calls, SMS messages and wireless connections for a carrier’s subscribers. There’s also a tool for managing subscribers’ account data.

A carrier’s employees can interact with wgtwo through a set of self-service consoles. According to the startup, one of the consoles is built for fielding customer support requests. Another allows a carrier’s employees to add new features to users’ accounts when they upgrade to a more expensive internet plan.

For developers, Working Group Two offers a set of application programming interfaces. A carrier can use the APIs to extend the capabilities of the startup’s platform and integrate it with the other applications

Working Group Two began as an internal project at Telenor ASA, Norway’s largest telecommunications provider. The company spun out of Telenor in 2017 with an initial team of five employees. Today, Working Group Two has more than 90 employees and a customer base that includes carriers in Asia, Europe and North America.

The company claims that wgtwo helped network operators process 354 million voice calls and 527 million SMS messages last year. Additionally, the platform powered mobile connections that transmitted more than 6 petabytes of data. Working Group Two says wgtwo can deliver wireless connectivity using 5G technology as well as earlier networking standards.

The platform is positioned as a simpler alternative to traditional carrier software. According to Working Group Two, wgtwo takes less time to deploy and link with a network operator’s existing systems than competing offerings. 

“The sky is the limit in what we can do with IoT, as millions to billions to trillions of connected devices come online,” Masum Mir, senior vice president of Cisco’s provider mobility business, wrote in a blog post. “Communication Service Providers must scale to support it, which means connectivity must be simplified for both deployment and management, and the mobile business service must evolve to become a much more lucrative offering.”

After the acquisition closes, Cisco plans to integrate the company’s technology into its Mobility Services offering. It’s a collection of Cisco products designed to help carriers enhance their network infrastructure. It says the offering can lower costs and cut the amount of time required to roll out new features for subscribers. 

Photo: Cisco

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