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Cisco Buys WG2 to Bolster Mobility Services Platform

Cisco has been partnering with WG2 since Norwegian telco Telenor spun out the mobility services platform provider in 2017.

James Anderson

August 11, 2023

5 Min Read
European network of Cisco acquisitions
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Norwegian mobile services platform provider Working Group Two (WG2) has joined the list of Cisco acquisitions in 2023.

Cisco this week announced that Norwegian telco Telenor will sell its stake in Working Group Two to Cisco for $150 million. Cisco executives say the acquisition makes for a “natural fit” with the IT giant’s mobility services platform and will help communication services providers simplify deployment and management. WG2 runs a mobile network platform in AWS to assist telcos in configuring their services.

“WG2’s technology and team beautifully align with the same approach: simplifying the mobile network architecture to deliver a radically innovative mobile service,” Masum Mir, Cisco senior vice president and general manager for provider mobility, wrote in a blog. “And with WG2 and the Cisco Mobility Services Platform, we’ll be able to boost our service edge deployment and API-first strategy for application development partners, enterprise customers and service provider partners.”

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Cisco’s Masum Mir

WG2 CEO Erlend Prestgard and chief technology officer Werner Eriksen wrote in a blog that they see “remarkable alignment” with the Cisco provider mobility team.

“We are incredibly excited about seeing our technology combined and deployed with Cisco’s scale and market presence,” Prestgard and Eriksen said.

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Working Group Two’s Erlend Prestgard

Telenor created WG2 as a “development project” in 2013 before spinning it out in 2017 and keeping a roughly 45% stake. Cisco has now agreed to buy all shares of WG2 and fully incorporate it into the its business.

Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

The deal will close in the fourth quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year, which ends July 27, 2024.

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Working Group Two’s Werner Eriksen

Cisco and WG2 have partnered with each other in the past, with Cisco participating as a strategic partner.

“Telenor and Cisco partnered on the launch of the company and have enjoyed a fruitful collaboration on many areas over the past few years. Cisco is an excellent future home for Working Group Two with a shared vision for how the industry should evolve. This transaction represents another milestone on our strategy of realising value in the Telenor Amp portfolio,” Telenor Amp executive vice president Dan Ouchterlony said.

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Telenor’s Dan Ouchterlony

“Telenor and Cisco partnered on the launch of the company and have enjoyed a fruitful collaboration on many areas over the past few years. Cisco is an excellent future home for Working Group Two with a shared vision for how the industry should evolve. This transaction represents another milestone on our strategy of realising value in the Telenor Amp portfolio,” Telenor Amp executive vice president Dan Ouchterlony said.

What Does Working Group Two Do?

WG2 provides a core network that functions code base on top of mobile operators’ radio networks. The company states that the cloud-based and API consumable platform will provide a “uniform” interface for telcos and allow them to focus on “configuration, not on integration.”

The company has touted the idea of building “app store dynamics” in the telco world.

“The consumption model is simple and comprehensive, supporting all stakeholders. The end result is a mobility services platform that can dramatically simplify mobile network deployments, provide enhanced edge experiences, enable new and advanced use cases, as well as support simple application development,” Mir said.

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Light Reading’s Iain Morris

As Iain Morris of Light Reading put it last year, it is trying to become the “Twilio of telecom.” (Light Reading is Channel Futures’ sister site.)

“Its big claim is to have taken a relatively small number of software developers and built most of what comprises a mobile network,” Morris wrote. “Provided ‘as-a-service’ from the AWS public cloud, it is designed to be highly programmable. Hundreds of updates can be sent to the production network every month. Application programming interfaces (APIs) released by WG2 mean stack developers can easily bolt on new products.”

According to Telenor, WG2 grew from five to 90 employees since spinning out. Investment firm Digital Alpha had been investing in the company as well.

Other Cisco Acquisitions

Cisco has made announcements for nine different acquisitions in 2023, and they complement various angles of the company’s technology portfolio.

Cisco at the beginning of August announced that it had purchased Greek provider Code BGP to bolster its ThousandEyes network observability platform. Code BGP and its team monitor the internet to detect and remediate downtime. Cisco’s security capabilities got a boost in July when the company said it was buying threat detection and response provider Oort.

Other 2023 Cisco acquisitions include cloud security providers Lightspin and Valtix.

Rival vendor HPE bought Italian mobile core provider Athonet earlier this year.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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