HomeInsightsSynchronica explains NeuStar acquisition, heads for European markets

    Synchronica explains NeuStar acquisition, heads for European markets


    Synchronica, the company that bought Colibria’s mobile IM business last year and earlier this year picked up NeuStar’s next generation messaging business for a song, wants to target European operators with an all-round, RCS-compliant messaging and social networking platform.

    Although the company has had success in emerging markets, where smartphone penetration is lower and operators have more of a hold of the mobile services environment, the messaging platform provider’s CEO Carsten Brinkschulte said that the time had now come for European operators to offer advanced messaging services. He also said that the low price Synchronica paid for NeuStar’s assets was not a comment on the value of the assets themselves, but instead a result of NeuStar wanting to make sure it sold to a company that could maintain its carrier relationships.

    Brinkschulte said that Synchronica’s Mobile Gateway 6 product, integrated with NeuStar’s NGM platform, would allow operators to offer advanced messaging services that bring multiple IM, social media and networking iD’s into a connected and presence-enabled address book.

    “We have announced we are moving into Rich Communications Suite and unified messaging services with our Mobile Gateway 6 product. This is a pre-RCS solution that enables us to bring the additional connectivity of social networking and email, which links to the RCS concept.

    “Our engineering team is now working on the next version of product that will deliver on RCS in the future. It’s a product that matches the roadmap of the carriers.

    “Many operators we see in Europe and parts of Asia are implementing IMS networks and one key aspect is the network address book and RCS functionality.
    I know there has been a little disillusion with RCS because it has not happened. It is one of these things that was initially over-hyped, but eventually it will be deployed and will be successful.”

    Brinkschulte said that NeuStar customers such as TIM, SFR, Vodafone, Turkcell, 3, and Beeline-Vimpelcom were all European carriers that Synchronica is new to and to whom the company would bring its “vision for NeuStar’s platform and merger into the MG6 platform.”

    So with the device manufacturers and OS providers offering cloud-based services direct to consumers, what is the operator advantage in offering RCS and pre-RCS type services?

    “Operators have one unfair advantage,” Brinkschulte said, “and that’s in the billing relationship, which gives them the ability to control and differentiate the price of services.”

    One example is a customer of Synchronica that is zero-rating access to its own IM service, while charging for data used while consumers access other services. This is a very strong “churn inhibitor” Brinkschulte said, as it leads to the creation of iD’s in the mobile operator’s own domain. In other words, users will be moved to set up an operator messaging account to get a “free” service, and then don’t want to lose access to that account by churning.

    So the obvious question is, if the connected address book and RCS-type services offer such a clear opportunity for carriers, and by implication Synchronica, why was NeuStar willing to let its assets in this area go for so little?

    “The valuation of the assets takes into account why they sold the business to Synchronica. Our position is in messaging and not just the silo of IM. NeuStar did not have these other aspects and had too narrow a focus. So it was at the point of deciding either to branch out or to focus back on its core business,” Brinkschulte said.

    “They scanned the market and found Synchronica as being one of the strategic partners available for maintaining the NeuStar’s operator relationships and giving those customers a roadmap.

    “The value of the assets is not that important, actually. What was important for NueStar was to move forward with a credible successor because operator relations are incredibly important to it.”