KORE’s announcement today of its acquisition of Wyless has been a while in the making, but is hugely significant now it is here. The combined business will have considerably more direct M2M connections than most Mobile Network Operator (MNO) M2M business units worldwide and will be the largest independent M2M network provider worldwide, certainly in terms of revenue. Among other statistics, the combined company has more than 350 staff, a customer base of more than 3,000 B2B companies globally and over 6m direct M2M connections that are significantly revenue generating. There are also further revenue-sharing connections that drive the total overall connection numbers somewhat higher.
Both of these companies commenced operations in 2003 as resellers of cellular airtime, in what was then a nascent M2M market. Both companies have also made significant acquisitions along the way. One of these for Wyless was Aspider M2M in the Netherlands and for KORE it was the acquisition of RACO Wireless in November 2014. Whereas the acquisition of RACO was almost entirely US-centric, Wyless adds both a European and a Latin American dimension. The overall company is now much more international in its scope.
This move is significant for several reasons. First up, there are not many MNOs who are generating M2M revenue at this level. It confirms that the independent reseller market has a great future at both the national and international level – something that many predicted would not happen when the MNOs started to focus harder on the M2M market 6 or 7 years ago. Indeed, Beecham Research’s own data shows that these resellers have in fact been growing at a faster rate than the MNOs over the last few years – both in connection numbers and in revenue terms.
Also significant is what it means for M2M/IoT market development. Uppermost in KORE management’s mind has been the transition to software services – data collection and effective processing of that data to add new value. Unlike many who aspire to provide these services, KORE is coming from a solid grounding in connectivity and where this data comes from. Part of the rationale for the deal is bringing forward introduction of new software services that will add new value in the IoT solutions business.
Thirdly, Beecham Research has been saying for some time that connectivity must not be taken for granted in the new IoT world. As we get to rely more and more on the data from a rapidly increasing population of connected devices and sensors, the need to ensure that there is no discontinuity in those connections also gets stronger.
Contrary to some popular assumptions, connectivity is not a ‘done deal’ and is not heading to be a commodity any time soon. Significant further expansion of the M2M/IoT market needs larger and more flexible connectivity providers to handle this, which KORE for one is now in an increasingly strong position to provide.