NextPoint: Reef Point and NexTone Tie the Knot

We reported on the NexTone/Reef Point joint offering, NextPoint (billed as the world’s first Integrated Border Gateway or IBG), about a month ago, after speaking with company officials at Fall VON.

Today, we’re reporting on this week’s joint announcement from the two providers of software-based communications technology: in this case, the new company NextPoint.

From where we stand, this merger looks like a strong bet on the rapid expansion of mobile voice over IP—probably increasingly based on WiMAX and emerging 3G WAN technologies, as opposed to wireless LAN technologies, like Wi-Fi.

(See our recent report, The Future of Mobile VoIP, on analyst predictions along these lines.)

NexTone has been widely successful in selling its session border controller (SBC) products, which both facilitate and secure the interconnection between a service provider’s network and “outside” networks—whether they be the larger Internet, or another service provider’s network.

And while Reef Point has also been an SBC vendor, with some functionality overlap, it has also developed great expertise in building gateways that support multiple mobile wireless technologies.

Combining the two companies’ technology strengths into a single product community—as they have done with the IBG venture—promises improved efficiency and economy for carriers and other customers seeking to deploy fixed/wireless IP communications facilities.

Both companies have architected their product lines based on industry standards, and both are compliant with the emerging IMS (IP multimedia subsystem) standards that allow the full range of real-time media communications across IP networks.

NexTone Executive Chairman David Walsh becomes Chairman of NextPoint, and Reef Point CEO Woody Ritchie becomes CEO of the new company.

Also announced, in tandem with the merger itself, is a $20 million round of venture funding from One Equity Partners (the private equity arm of JP Morgan Chase), along with American Capital, Core Capital Partners, Jerusalem Venture Partners, Safeguard Scientifics, and Summerhill Venture Partners.

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