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11 March 2016

Kore buys Wyless in M2M and IoT expansion

Two prominent M2M platforms have merged this week, with Kore Wireless Group acquiring Wyless Group Holdings. With no price given, the new business will consist of some 350 staff, with offices and datacenters in Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America. The combined portfolio represents a customer base of around 3,000 B2B companies, representing over six million subscribers with revenues said to be around $250m.

The all-cash Wyless acquisition adds a big chunk of European and South American traffic to Kore’s current portfolio, which was bolstered by the November 2014 acquisition of RacoWireless – which saw ABRY Partners acquire both companies and merge the two M2M providers.

Since the acquisition, Kore has grown from around 3.5m to the 6m+ it serves today. The deal is expected to close in early Q2ag, and has been signed by both boards. It follows Cisco’s recent $1.4bn acquisition of Jasper, of which many in the industry have expressed surprise at, based on the rumored revenues. By merging, Kore and Wyless make themselves a more enticing acquisition for other large players in the IoT space – particularly the MNOs.

Both companies began in 2003, and are now claiming that the deal propels the new company into the top six M2M/IoT platforms in the market – which also includes Aeris, Jasper (now Cisco), Stream, Sierra Wireless, Ericsson’s DCP, and Vodafone. The dedicated divisions within the MNOs, like AT&T or Verizon’s in the US, or Telefonica or Orange in Europe, have reportedly been losing ground to the independent platforms, according to Beecham Research.

The new company will remain focused on cellular and satellite, and is planning on committing one-third of its staff to R&D and product development initiatives, as the company looks to bring large enterprise customers into the fold. The new eSIM standards might help it poach SIMs from other customers, although the new standard is going to be pretty disruptive within the fairly small M2M platform market regardless.

Kore’s CEO, Alex Brisbourne, said that the two are creating “a technology provider of services for the fastest-growing and most interesting segment of the technology landscape, where data management and telecommunications converge. We believe no other provider can marshal our blend of talented and knowledgeable people, geographic reach and technology platforms.”

Wyless meanwhile provides data connectivity and managed IoT services to customers in over 160 countries. With T-Mobile USA and Rogers Canada public customers of its eSIM switching service, the guaranteed uptime and security are key selling points for Wyless.

The company has also secured 2G deals for customers that are tied to the legacy deployments and are worried about the main MNOs sunsetting their 2G spectrum and refarming it into LTE. Notably, it maintains a physical network, and is vocal about the differences this gives it compared to other MVNO options.

As for Kore, its Atlanta and Las Vegas offices are backed up by support centers in Australia and Canada, which Kore says provides 24/7 support to its customers. With specific solutions for verticals, including healthcare, utilities and digital signage, Kore can also provide SIM cards to customers looking to on-board their products – but that’s the extent of Kore’s hardware involvement.

Separately, Kore has also announced a partnership with Intelligent Telematics and Commercial Hirecar Insurance Company (CHIC), which will see the three companies collaborate to reduce accidents and promote telematics integrations in the automotive insurance industry.

Kore will be providing network connectivity to Intelligent Telematics’ IT1000 3G vehicle camera, which records accident footage for use in insurance claims, with Intelligent Telematics’ President, Richard Baxendale, said that the IT1000 will help reduce the claims ration and cost of insurance, as well as enabling CHIC to provide better premiums to its existing customers.

“”We had been looking at various devices as we were preparing to roll out our new Taxi and Limousine insurance products; however, we couldn’t find a device that had the speed of reporting or anywhere near the functionalities that the IT1000 offers us,” said Michael Poller, the president and founder of CHIC. “We were extremely impressed with Intelligent Telematics’ device and decided to roll this out as part of our campaign that we have just launched in New Jersey and will follow in several other states including Tennessee, Florida and Pennsylvania.”