Mobile Industry on the Move

— July 20, 2013

What’s going on in the world of mobility? Here are this week’s moves by the major players.

BlackBerry
Launched in January 2013, the Z10 from Blackberry started out at a price point of $199 (with contract) in most American carriers. However, that changed already around July 12.  While a lower price to make room for the next iteration is common industry practice — and usually a sign of things to come — that’s not the case here. It does come on the heels of the release of the Q10 – a QWERTY version of the device that may actually be the flagship product.

Still, many are taking it as another sign of the demise of the platform. In fact, at a shareholders meeting on July 9, CEO Thorsten Heins spoke about increasing partnerships and licensing the platform to other makers.

Amazon is offering the device for .01 with plan ($599 without). On their own sites AT&T, T-Mobile (for a monthly payment of $18) and Verizon for $99.99 with contract, but through Best Buy, the former two carriers’ cost is $49.99. Without a contract on Best Buy, the smartphone still comes in at a whopping $699.99.

TOA Technologies
TOA Technologies has raised $66 million from Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), a provider of growth-stage capital to technology businesses. This investment will power the company’s continued global expansion in various industries including telecommunications, pay TV, utilities, B2B services, healthcare and retail.

“Our goal is nothing short of transforming the way people get and do their work in the field, helping companies realize what is possible when they put the best applications in the hands of their field management teams,” said Yuval Brisker, co-founder and CEO of TOA Technologies.

TOA Technologies raised $35 million in previous funding from Draper Triangle Ventures, Early Stage Partners, Intel Capital and Sutter Hill Ventures. TCV's Tim McAdam will be joining TOA Technologies' Board of Directors.

FeedHenry
Former IDC Vice President and Program Director Steve Drake has joined FeedHenry as Vice President, Business Development. A recognized authority in enterprise mobility software and the telecommunications industry, Drake will focus on rapidly scaling an extensive reseller channel and technology partnership ecosystem as well as providing strategic knowledge of best practice mobile deployments to enterprise customers. Drakes will also provide strategic sales support as well as product evangelism.

An IT industry veteran, Drake spent 16 years at IDC, and the last 5 years as Vice President of Mobility and Telecom where he pioneered the mobile enterprise business and built a successful team, developing syndicated and custom research across key software, device and infrastructure markets and defined several critical mobile enterprise segments including app enablement and management.  Drake also authored the foreword to the book, Wireless Data For The Enterprise: Making Sense of Wireless Business and has delivered keynote presentations at numerous industry events.

“We are delighted that our partners and customers can now benefit from Steve’s deep market expertise” says Cathal McGloin, CEO FeedHenry, “As cloud vendors, mobile operators and enterprises seek to define how best to leverage mobility in the cloud, Steve will ensure they do so in the smartest, most cost effective and impactful way. We are delighted to have him on board as we continue to grow the team in North America and deepen the capabilities of our platform.”
 
AT&T
AT&T Inc. and prepaid wireless provider Leap Wireless International Inc. have entered into an agreement for AT&T to acquire Leap for $15 per share in cash. Under the terms of the agreement, AT&T will acquire all of Leap’s stock and wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and about 5 million subscribers.

Leap’s network covers about 96 million people in 35 U.S. states. Leap currently operates, under the Cricket brand, a 3G CDMA network, as well as a 4G LTE network covering 21 million people in these areas, and has 3,400 employees. AT&T will retain the Cricket brand name, provide Cricket customers with access to its 4G LTE mobile network, utilize Cricket’s distribution channels, and expand Cricket’s presence to additional U.S. cities.

Owners of approximately 29.8% of Leap’s outstanding shares have entered into an agreement to vote in favor of the transaction. The transaction is subject to review by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice and to other customary closing conditions. AT&T expects the transaction to close in six to nine months.
 
Aruba Networks
San Diego State University has selected Aruba Networks’ ClearPass Access Management System for comprehensive BYOD management. Combined with SDSU’s existing Aruba Networks Wireless LAN (WLAN), ClearPass will allow the University to address the challenges associated with the exponential growth in wireless and mobile devices on campus.

With 34,000 students, 9,600 faculty and staff, and guests on its 300-acre campus, SDSU must accommodate tens of thousands of wireless and mobile devices accessing the network each day. With its new solution, SDSU now will have a central system for network authentication and visibility into exactly which users and devices are registering onto the network.

In addition, SDSU is also in the process of upgrading all of its access points (APs) to the 802.11n standard. When this upgrade is complete, the WLAN will include nearly 2,000 Aruba APs, Aruba Mobility Controllers and the AirWave Network Management System.
 
AirTight Networks
AirTight Networks, Inc., has closed a Series D financing round totaling $10 million. Led by existing investors Trident Capital and CMEA Capital, this latest round raises the total capital invested in the company to $48.75 million. 

"AirTight has been a leading innovator in the wireless space since the company’s inception, bringing the industry’s top-rated WIPS to market in 2005 and the first cloud-managed Wi-Fi security solution in 2008," said Alberto Yepez, Managing Director at Trident Capital. "All of AirTight’s existing investors are excited to support the company’s growth trajectory with additional working capital and operational funding."

RACO Wireless
RACO Wireless has acquired Position Logic, a Florida-based provider of integrated B2B location-based services. Established in 2007, Position Logic operates in more than 50 countries.

“When we started Position Logic a little over 6 years ago, we wanted to do something significant,” said Felix Lluberes, president and CEO of Position Logic. “We saw the complexities of GPS tracking, and we wanted to make it as simple as possible for businesses to locate and track their assets. We have come a long way, and in joining RACO Wireless, we now have the scale to go much further through the integration of technology, expertise and resources.”

The Position Logic division will continue to offer its current products globally and exclusively through white-labeled relationships with Elite Value Added Resellers. Position Logic currently employs more than 40 people and will continue to be located in offices in Florida and the Dominican Republic. President and CEO Felix Lluberes, and current CTO, Hong Long, will join RACO’s leadership team. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ERF Wireless
Energy Broadband, a subsidiary of ERF Wireless Inc., has, entered into multi-year fixed-site contracts with oil and gas related customers that are expected to generate almost one million dollars of revenue in their first year and range from two to five years in duration. These contracts are for fixed-site wireless broadband data services over the Energy Broadband wireless network in the Eagle Ford Shale, as well as associated engineering services during their installation.

Wireless services that are being provided include data transport for hundreds of production well site collection points, commercial field offices and storage sites located throughout the Eagle Ford Shale region of South Texas. As part of this series of multi-year contracts, Energy Broadband will also be responsible for providing the wireless system hardware, trained technicians for managing and performing all installations, and testing of the total end-to-end data connectivity.

"These fixed-site contracts all utilize the recently completed South Texas wireless network resources of the Energy Broadband subsidiary of ERF Wireless,” said Tim Maxson, COO, ERF Wireless. “This extensive wireless network is also currently providing wireless services to a significant number of active drilling rigs using our mobile broadband trailer nomadic service solution.”

Kaseya
Kaseya has completed the purchase of Rover Apps, LLC, a provider of cloud solutions that enable users to securely work with enterprise resources using their personal devices without giving up complete control of the device to the enterprise. Terms of the acquisition are undisclosed, but the acquisition enables Kaseya to security for mobile BYOD users using a secure containerized approach.

“We are excited to join the Kaseya family and offer our customers the benefits of the easily deployed Rover platform,” said Jonathan Foulkes, CEO, Rover Apps. “This pairing will allow us to reach the broad population of BYOD mobile users in the markets Kaseya serves, bringing them a simple, secure means of managing company data on popular mobile platforms.”

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