Synchronica To Buy Nokias OBM Business

Synchronica plc has struck a conditional agreement to acquire Nokia’s Operator Branded Messaging (OBM) business, which provides white-label mobile email and Instant Messaging (IM) services across a wide range of devices to operators in N. America.

The acquisition will provide Synchronica with a successful and complementary mobile messaging business and a strong foothold in the strategically important N. American operator market. Combined with more than 80 existing carrier contracts in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Russia and Asia, Synchronica says it aims to become the global leader in next-generation mobile messaging. With Nokia’s assignment of 10 operator contracts in N. America, Synchronica¹s total addressable market across all operator customers worldwide will extend to 1.8bn endusers.

Nokia’s OBM technology enables mobile operators to affordably deliver an operator-branded email experience on mobile devices via an easy to-use interface. MSN Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL, Google mail/Gmail and multiple other portal/ISP email services are all supported via a single client on a mobile device. In addition, multiple IM accounts, such as GoogleTalk, ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, AOL and others are accessible via the IM clients.

The terms of the acquisition include an assignment of mobile operator contracts, as well as source code of the related Nokia Messaging client and server software. As part of the deal, Synchronica and Nokia will enter into a long-term relationship in which Synchronica will provide the messaging software which Nokia will continue to preload on Nokia Series 40 phones. Synchronica will assume responsibility for the development, maintenance and support of the Nokia

Messaging software shipping with millions of Nokia devices, and the gateway functionality for both Series 40 and Symbian devices. Approximately 250 employees, externals and contractors are expected to transfer from Nokia to Synchronica.

The 10 N. American carrier contracts planned to be transferred to Synchronica include Tier-1 carriers such as AT&T, Bell Canada, Rogers Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, with more than 6m subscribers actively using the email and/or IM service.

“This acquisition marks a key milestone for Synchronica, as we move closer to our goal of becoming the leading global player for next-generation mobile messaging,” says Synchronica CEO, Carsten Brinkschulte. “Nokia’s successful and highly complementary Operator Branded Messaging business will at a stroke transform Synchronica’s scale, profitability and geographic scope. We look forward to forging successful, long-term partnerships with the carrier customers in N. America for providing mass-market, Operator Branded Messaging services, as well as with Nokia for ongoing development and support of the Nokia Messaging Services.”