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Technology for Sale:

Public WLAN/WiMAX billing solution    

A comprehensive platform for billing and service management of public wireless Internet access

Overview

SAB Server is a centrally managed all-in-one server solution that streamlines the rollout of WLAN/WiMAX hotspot services and minimises associated costs to any service provider, operator or venue owner. Services are available from day one, ensuring instant revenue generation. SAB Server enables a range of different operator business models, including roaming with its ready-made interfaces to major players.

The Problem Solved by the Technology

SAB Server is a software server solution with which any existing or new operator can start providing public Internet connectivity services on WLAN, WiMAX or in any wired Ethernet infrastructure. As long as there are network controllers (a.k.a. access gateways, and those are readily available) installed at the hotspots, all the operator needs is SAB Server, installed in one instance and without restrictions as to its location, to start offering Public WLAN services to any public in much the same way as is done by companies like Wayport, The Cloud, and various mobile operators around the world.

Instead of just setting up a WLAN access point behind an Internet connection and providing access for free to anyone who discovers the network (or limiting its use by security mechanisms), with SAB Server practically anyone can start charging for the access to the Internet, whether it is through WLAN, WiMax or even regular cable.

How the Technology Solves the Problem

1. SAB Server is simple to install and deploy on even light-weight hardware, yet it covers all the functional areas that most hotspot operators will need.
2. SAB Server allows a number of different 3rd-party gateways to co-exist in a heterogeneous network infrastucture.
3. SAB Server provides administration interfaces to various parties involved, including the venue owners who can be given a revenue share (in addition to the operator who may not be the same as the venue owner).
4. SAB Server opens up all revenue channels, be it payments by credit card or vouchers against cash, by roaming partners, or by SMS
5. SAB Server allows the users themselves to become subscribers instantaneously, upon discovering the service and without waiting to be vetted, according to the policy set by the operator.
6. SAB Server can be run by the client in an ASP fashion, providing services to multiple other operators.

Primary Application of the Technology

WLAN, ie. hotspot operators.

Other Potential Applications

- Large venue owners directly (airports, hotels)
- outdoor networks (WLAN or WiMAX)
- operational support systems for restaurants (order management over WLAN), hotels (PMS integration and handheld services), hospitals etc.
- INSTANT SERVICE PROVISIOING BY CARRIERS USING ETHERNET FOR THE LAST MILE.

Competitive Advantage

The system is a relatively unique combination of the features listed above and in addition is ready for large-scale deployments by clustering that balances load and improves reliability. Competition exists, but for reasons explained elsewhere, we are willing to sell the assets at a very attractive price.

Deployment

Software is usually downloaded by ftp or on companys extranet, on which also documentation is made available.

Development Platform

Buyer is free to choose its development environment as long as it complies with Java practices. E.g. Ant scripts are used in the build process. (Details available upon request.)

Notes on Development Status

Some updates would probably be needed in terms of development, e.g. to use the product with latest other tools of the trade; however this does not represent a significant cost.

Platforms Supported

The software runs on Linux. RedHat Enterprise Linux has been used so far, but porting onto other distributions is perferctly feasible and has in fact been undertaken by at least one client so far. SAB Server also requires an SQL database and a RADIUS server to interface with, as is usual in the industry, and those are obviously available from various vendors and as open source.

The end users (typically laptop users) can run any known operating system, including mobile devices.

Notes on Sales Status

The system has been sold to 40+ operator clients over the years; however the sales of the system as a standalone product with our earlier commercial strategy has not been sufficient to pay back the development costs or to run profitable enough business at our cost structure. In the absence of suitable follow-up funding, we are now selling the assets, development of which has cost up to 3 MEUR, at a fraction of the development cost.

We recommend the buyer to incorporate the SAB Server into a wider product offering and/or to look into other segments than straightforward sales of a software product to WLAN operator clients. More details on possible avenues available on request. Alternatively the buyer could be a single WLAN/WiMAX operator wishing to gain full control of their OSS/BSS solution.

Despite some disappointments that the WLAN market has brought with itself, compared to the optimistic estimates of the beginning of the decade, it seems the industry is catching a second wind now that WLAN has truly become ubiquitous and user awareness is high. WiMAX is in the making, which will further boost the demand for such services and systems. VoWLAN (Voice of WLAN) and VoIP more generally may be the next big driver for demand in hotspots. It is regrettable that we may not be the one to reap the benefits of the market development, as the owners--after being entrepreneurs in the business for 7 years--have decided to favour a sale of the assets over a riskier approach of trying to find 2nd-round funding.

Comments on Deal Structure, Potential Terms and Restrictions

We are primarily looking to sell all the IPR to reduce buyer's transaction costs compared to a sale of the company, even if sale of the company remains an option as well. The seller is not aware of any restrictions that could affect the use of the IPR by the buyer, ie. the IPR is not subject to any claims. Neither previous investors, nor the national technology development fund, who have funded the development, pose any restrictions and the seller is free to negotiate any deal structure.

Should the interested buyer be a WLAN/WiMAX or other operator wishing to use and tailor the system only for its own operational use as opposed to resale, the price for the source code license can be offered at a lower price.

Frequently Asked Questions

The solution is more geared towards use by infrastructure owners, i.e. those who set up the hotspot or other network infrastructure in hotels, airports, restaurants etc., than towards management of subscribers of e.g. large mobile operators who are not necessarily owners of their infrastructure. SAB Server does provide the possibility for the operator to build its subscriber base as well, but the current market structure is such that a large number of such infrastructure owners serves 1) anonymous one-time users and 2) large operators subscribers through roaming agreements. While SAB Server obviously performs task 1) above all alone, heavy emphasis on roaming has been placed in the development of SAB Server, and ready-made interfaces exist towards iPass and Boingo as subscriber owners, for example.

Additional Information

The development team has been very international from the beginning and all documentation, in code as well as in separate documents, is in high-quality English that is yet easy to understand.
View this listing on the Tynax website: www.tynax.com/listing/290