Vonage chief sees 5G and SaaS benefits from Ericsson acquisition

Rory Read Ericsson Vonage.jpg

Ericsson continued its move from a telecoms equipment vendor to becoming a service provider last night when it completed its US$6.2 billion acquisition of Vonage.

Completion came after Ericsson had passed all the regulatory challenges, including, last week, clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investments in the US (CFIUS).

Rory Read (pictured), Vonage CEO, said: “Vonage was born out of innovation and is today a global leader in business cloud communications. This partnership will strengthen our offerings to businesses across the globe by leveraging Ericsson’s leadership in 5G, global market presence and strong R&D capabilities.”

The former Dell executive, who joined Vonage only a year ago, will now be head of what Ericsson calls business area global communications platform. He will also be a member of Ericsson’s executive team.

He joined Vonage in July 2022 to run what the company called its strategic vision of becoming a world-class business software-as-a-service (SaaS) company.

This is very different from the Vonage that industry guru Jeff Pulver created in 1998 as, intended to be an electronic exchange for trading phone minutes but swiftly changed its name and converted into a voice over IP (VoIP) company, offering cheap worldwide voice services.

The Vonage that Ericsson has bought offers unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and contact centre as a service (CCaaS) systems, which the Swedish vendor can now offer to its own customers.

Börje Ekholm, Ericsson’s president and CEO, said: “With Vonage’s suite of communications solutions – UCaaS, CCaaS and communications APIs [applications program interfaces] – Ericsson will further expand its offerings into the enterprise space. In the future, network capabilities will be consumed and paid for through open network APIs, creating the opportunity for unparalleled innovation.”

Ekholm said: “With Vonage, we will now develop and commercialize these new APIs. We are already seeing great progress with frontrunner CSPs [communications service providers], and we aim to launch the first 5G network APIs in the coming year.”

He said Ericsson would be “linking the network world with the global developer community” and this would allow telcos to have “a new monetization opportunity supporting increasing investments in high-performance networks”.

He said that 5G, the new mobile generation, will be “an innovation platform, unlike anything we’ve seen before, offering almost limitless opportunities to develop super-fast, highly reliable, low-latency and mission-critical services”.

Vonage’s UCaaS and CCaaS suite will be “a solid growth platform” for 5G, he added.