Taqua acquires partner Kineto Wireless to strengthen Wi-Fi calling play

Taqua acquired partner Kineto Wireless to more seamlessly deliver Voice over Wi-Fi and Voice over LTE solutions to operators. The privately held companies did not disclose the value of the transaction.

Taqua and Kineto have been working together for years, but their first joint deployment was for Sprint's (NYSE:S) Wi-Fi calling service, which the carrier launched in February.

Taqua's virtual mobile core has enabled carriers to leverage residential and enterprise Wi-Fi access points as well as their own Wi-Fi networks for voice over Wi-Fi calling. The service also uses Kineto's Smart Wi-Fi Android client on the device to route calls over Wi-Fi and seamlessly transition between Wi-Fi calling and cellular networks.

In an interview with FierceWireless, Taqua CMO Ken Kolderup said during the past 12-18 months both companies saw a strong resurgence in carrier interest in Wi-Fi calling as more realized how much consumers were using Wi-Fi in their homes and offices. That interest picked up steam after Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) said it would add support for Wi-Fi calling with its iOS 8 software update, he said. T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) is the only U.S. carrier that has so far confirmed it will support Wi-Fi calling for the iPhone; T-Mobile has worked with Kineto to power its Wi-Fi calling solution for several years.

Kolderup said the two companies have been working with a "couple dozen" different operator customers, and those customers wanted the two companies to work even closer together so the carrier would only need to deal with one vendor. "Together we felt we would have a better opportunity to capitalize" on the market opportunity, Kolderup said. In fact, the company plans to announce two new customers on Sept. 8, including one in North America, for VoWiFi, VoLTE and small cell solutions.

Taqua said its Kineto acquisition will help it deliver a scalable, end-to-end VoWiFi solution. Carriers can launch Wi-Fi calling with or without an IP Multimedia System (IMS), the companies noted.

Taqua CEO Eric Pratt is leading the combined company. Kineto CEO Jeff Brown and CFO Martin Hernandez have left the company, according to Kolderup. He added that the company has not really cut any jobs as a result of the transaction since the two firms did not have overlapping products, and that engineering and product management teams have remained intact. Kolderup said that Kineto has brought a great deal of network infrastructure knowledge to the team. Combined, the two companies have close to 100 employees, and the firm moved into Taqua's headquarters in Richardson, Texas.

"Even though we were working well together as independent entities, our ability to execute even in the last couple of weeks, on accounts and coordination, makes the customers' desire even more clear," he added.

Combined, the two companies have around 160 to 170 operator customers, Kolderup said, though many of those are wireline carriers. The companies have around a half-dozen Wi-Fi calling customers, and that is where the growth in the business is coming from.

For more:
- see this release

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