Cisco Buys Mobile Networking Specialist Intucell for $475 Million

Cisco will pay approximately $475 million in cash and retention-based incentives to acquire the entire business and operations of Intucell.

Networking giant Cisco announced it has acquired Israeli self-optimizing network (SON) software developer Intucell for $475 million in an effort to broaden its mobile network intelligence capabilities. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2013, subject to customary closing conditions.

The software is designed to enable mobile carriers to plan, configure, manage, optimize and heal cellular networks automatically according to real-time changing network demands, and adds a network intelligence layer to manage and optimize spectrum, coverage and capacity of Cisco’s offerings.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay approximately $475 million in cash and retention-based incentives to acquire the entire business and operations of Intucell. Upon the close of the acquisition, Intucell employees will be integrated into Cisco's Service Provider Mobility Group, reporting to Shailesh Shukla, vice president and general manager of the software and applications group.

With real time network visibility provided by Intucell’s Virtual Drive Test, Intucell’s systems automatically tune the network to actual conditions as they develop and change. Intucell engages with mobile operators directly and together with its partners, typically starting a deployment with a trial in a limited part of the network. Trials are followed by commercial deployment, where Intucell provides licenses to install its technology across the network.

Cisco said the acquisition would also enhance Cisco's ability to deliver next-generation solutions with a SON software platform that supports multiapplication, multivendor and multitechnology capabilities as mobile operators look for a more cost effective and efficient way to keep up with demand for bandwidth and reduce complexity. The software could also enable service providers to manage operational costs and make better use of infrastructure investments, a company statement said.

"The mobile network of the future must be able to scale intelligently to address growing and often unpredictable traffic patterns, while also enabling carriers to generate incremental revenue streams," Cisco Service Provider Mobility Group Senior Vice President and general manager Kelly Ahuja said in a statement. "Through the addition of Intucell's industry-leading SON technology, Cisco's service provider mobility portfolio provides operators with unparalleled network intelligence and the unique ability to not only accommodate exploding network traffic, but to profit from it."

Over the past few years, Cisco has been aggressive in its acquisition efforts as it looks to bolster its networking capabilities and expand its reach into such areas as cloud computing, video and software. In November 2012 alone, the company snapped up three companies, including network traffic management specialist Cariden Technologies for $141 million. Cisco had announced earlier that month that it was spending $135 million for startup Cloupia, whose software will enable businesses to better manage their Cisco converged data center solutions. Days later, Cisco said it was acquiring Meraki Systems for $1.2 billion in a deal aimed at boosting Cisco's cloud computing and WiFi networking capabilities.