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Portal Software Nabs Wireless Voice Solution Firm

Seeking to address the needs of wireless operators, infrastructure software provider Portal Software Inc. Friday picked up privately-held SOLUTION42 for about $290 million in stock.

Portal Software offered 7.5 million shares of common stock for the Germany-based wireless voice solution specialist. The transaction will be accounted for as a purchase.

At the crux of the deal is Portal's addition of SOLUTION42's wireless provisioning, mediation, extended rating capabilities and local number portability to its buyer's customer management and billing platform, Infranet™. Portal's customers may now benefit from solutions for the latest wireless data and voice markets.

Portal's Infranet software links Internet/IP services, subscribers, and revenues enabling service providers to rapidly develop, new services and manage customer usage and billing in real time. Portal's technology helps service providers generate more revenue and be more competitive by bringing new services to market fast.

John Little, chief executive officer of Portal Software Inc., noted that service providers must adapt to the rapidly-evolving wireless technologies, which SOLUTION42 provides.

"SOLUTION42 extends Portal's existing wireless Internet and services platform to provide a converged solution for the world's leading mobile service providers," Little said.

Portal's Vice President of Market Development Vijay Iyer told InternetNews.com Friday that his firm wants to get a jump on third generation, or simply 3G, wireless voice communications.

While most cell phones rely on simple, slow connections of the second generation, Iyer said 3G is an impending technology that speeds up communications by seeing to it that voice and data converge over packet-based networks, providing a faster, cleaner connection.

Portal, which will inherit 100 engineering and professional services experts in Friday's deal, was born in 1985. Once focused on the importance of establishing global networks, it evolved as one of the country's first Internet service providers.

Portal introduced Infranet in 1996 and has since worked quietly to build upon this technology, which Yankee Group analyst Boyd Petersen said is crucial for Internet companies because pricing models are changing.

"Billing will be a key area of growth for ISPs as they look to the next generation of pricing for their traditional and value-added services," Petersen said.

"Companies that can differentiate their service offerings for different segments of the market will have an advantage over companies that charge on a one-size-fits-all model."

Portal's portfolio contains such hearty customers as Qwest Communications, MCI WorldCom and Inktomi. Its technology partner suite is no less impressive: Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett Packard Co., Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.