November 27, 2007

Airwide Acquires First Hop

Airwide Solutions (www.airwidesolutions.com), which provides next-generation mobile messaging infrastructure and applications, has announced the acquisition of Finnish company First Hop, which specialises in mobile service control and gateway technologies. These enable operators to move at the speed of the market by rapidly implementing new mobile services, business models and targeted content and campaigns.

First Hop’s service lifecycle management covers the end-to-end process of service provisioning, testing, launch, delivery, charging, and reporting through all mobile delivery channels. Operators can drive up service value and user experience through usage data analysis, subscription and campaign tools, and the capability of combining multiple network resources - such as location, billing, and device profile - to rapidly launch new service concepts, context-aware services, or personalised bundles. Coupled with Airwide’s Fusion architecture, customers will be able to take advantage of value-added services like ad insertion, personalisation, campaign management and promotion.

Airwide’s Fusion tiered architecture breaks traditional messaging infrastructures into tiers, including storage, access and delivery, control, and application tiers, and uses independently scalable components to support multiple messaging and delivery types.

With more than 120 mobile operators served by the combined company, Airwide says the First Hop deal further establishes its position as a dominant player in the next-generation mobile messaging industry, and firmly secures the number one position in the market for mobile service control and messaging gateways.

By acquiring First Hop, Airwide extends the flexibility of its tiered architecture for operators by adding the industry’s most advanced multi-channel gateway as another step in enabling operators to add ‘best-of-breed,’ open components to their networks. Airwide will also incorporate First Hop’s powerful mobile service control capabilities into the next-generation Fusion architecture, expanding it beyond messaging, with solutions for wireless Internet browsing.

First Hop’s products, technology and team will be an integral part of Airwide’s mission to provide the most advanced and effective solutions for driving mobile messaging usage and revenues, and enabling operators to leverage multiple delivery channels and next-generation infrastructure in new and more powerful ways. Together, says Airwide, the companies are uniquely positioned to address the emerging industry requirements for Mobile Messaging 2.0, which emphasizes open, interoperable systems, and is guiding the evolution of the mobile messaging industry.

By adding mobile service control, which enables functionality such as context, personalisation and profiling, to its Fusion tiered architecture, Airwide says it will enable operators to rapidly launch more services and to build a dynamic and broad service offering that will drive subscriber messaging usage and ultimately revenues. Also, by expanding further into additional delivery channels like the HTTP- and WAP-based mobile Internet, Airwide creates a foundation for bridging Internet services and mobile networks that will let operators futureproof their business models and revenue streams and create new and unique mobile services.

“The mobile messaging industry is poised for great change, and Airwide today is making a solid statement that we are going to be the company that drives the next stage of the market,” says Airwide CEO, Kevin A. Wood. “Operators continue to struggle with driving new revenue from mobile messaging services, and they are grappling with how to develop new business models such as ad-sponsored services. Combining First Hop’s service control strengths and multi-channel delivery strategy with Airwide’s next generation mobile messaging infrastructure, we address these issues head-on, and our expanded vision will help us to meet operator needs now and in the future.”

First Hop CEO Timo Laaksonen adds:
“Airwide and First Hop together are a real-world example of the sum being greater than the parts. By combining First Hop’s strengths in service lifecycle management, context, profiling and personalization, with Airwide’s next-generation mobile messaging infrastructure, we are taking the market to an entirely new level. We are confident that our integrated product lines will yield the industry’s best performance, flexibility and functionality. With our combined resources we are better equipped to accelerate our R&D programs, enhance our worldwide service delivery capability and manage our commercial customer and partner relationships. In short, we are now ideally positioned for further business growth.”