Network Infrastructure

Ericsson Acquires Billing Company MetraTech

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  September 30, 2014

A few years ago Ericsson bought Telcordia (News - Alert) for $1.15 billion in an effort that gained the telecom equipment giant a treasure trove of billing and operational support system product and expertise. Recently Ericsson struck again in this general arena, with the acquisition of billing outfit MetraTech (News - Alert). The value of the deal was not disclosed.

A 2013 Stratecast Global Technology Innovation in Complex Relationship Billing Award winner, MetraTech offers MetraNet brand commerce and settlement solutions, which allows service providers to expedite new service introduction.

The acquisition of MetraTech, Ericsson (News - Alert) says, will extend its billing leadership beyond telecom into other important markets such as transport and utilities, and better position it to move on opportunities related to the Internet of Things and as-a-service models. It will do that, the company says, by outfitting Ericsson and its customers with flexible billing solutions that can quickly and easily support new revenues and shifting business models that may entail personalized, multi-party agreements.

Boston-based MetraTech, which was founded in 1998, has 140 employees and contractors, all of which Ericsson plans to bring aboard as part of the acquisition, which is set to close before the end of the third quarter.

Scott Swartz (News - Alert), MetraTech founder and CEO, who authored an article in the April 2012 issue of TMC’s INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine, wrote: “Business models with sales-driven, enterprise customer agreements; interrelated, multi-party partnership arrangements; and integrated channel compensation programs must all be configurable, evolved and manageable throughout the lifecycle of the business. The machine-to-machine commercial world will deliver a dynamic, relationship-driven marketplace that is setting the pace for a new generation of commerce. It will also deliver a unique opportunity for those in position to harness it.”

Ericsson saw a similar trend happening earlier on in the telecom space when it announced the acquisition of Telcordia, a company that evolved out of Bellcore, the Bell telephone companies’ former R&D entity. At the time, Ericsson and Telcordia talked about how telecom was (and still is) experiencing a move from services that were essentially facilities to an environment in which services can be activated virtually; application-awareness and quality of service become paramount; and a wider variety of ecosystem partners may be involved to deliver total solutions.

As noted in the Billing Roundup in last month’s issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine, even before the MetraTech deal, Ericsson had been offering a comprehensive OSS/BSS product and services portfolio that helps operators achieve customer agility, service agility, and network agility. As a result, Ericsson says, they are able to be fast, flexible, and in complete control.

Ericsson’s full spectrum of OSS/BSS solutions, known as the Ericsson Agility Suite, is based on a modern convergent architecture that is open, modular, and cloud-based. Cross-domain, cross-technology solutions allow agility in all major process areas, including Plan-to-Provision, Lead-to-Cash, Trouble-to-Resolution, Converged Billing, and Partner Interaction.

Ericsson service enablement solutions deliver customized subscriber offerings that create value for partners and monetize assets through agility, responsiveness, and unique user experiences. The company’s convergent billing and revenue management solutions solve billing and charging challenges to increase revenues and customers. Ericsson revenue assurance solutions provide a structured approach to detect and prevent revenue leakage. Ericsson’s fulfillment suite of products includes activation, configuration, and remote device management that speed time to market and enable accurate service fulfillment. Ericsson assurance solutions analyze and address customer experience, so operators can meet expectations and secure revenue. Ericsson domain management solutions enable successful service delivery through reliable network operation and control. The company’s M-commerce platform enables operators to offer secure access to mobile money and create new revenue sources.

Edited by Maurice Nagle