iPass has signed an agreement to acquire GoRemote.
While there is a tendency to see iPass and GoRemote as direct competitors, the latter has always focused mainly on remote connectivity in the wired world whereas iPass, though it started in remote dial-up access, really made its name in wireless access. This was initially in WiFi, where it knitted together different operators’ networks and enabled access from different geographies with centralized billing, obviating the need for on-to-spot settlement. This year, iPass added cellular connectivity for the CDMA world.
As such, while there is a degree of overlap, the two companies’ offerings are largely complementary, and even where they do overlap, merging them will be accretive rather than conflictive.
In announcing the deal, iPass CEO Ken Denman said his company will target GoRemote’s 1,700 enterprise customers worldwide with services, such as 3G connectivity, that GoRemote had not been offering, as well as access over more WiFi hotspots. He also identified an opportunity for cross-selling iPass services in the areas of endpoint security, security policy enforcement and device management.
iPass has been growing its WiFi connectivity, to the point that it announced recently that the number of live hotspots it has in operation has exceeded 35,000 worldwide. The company also said its virtual network, its Global Broadband Roaming network, now reaches 57 countries as well as international flights via the Connexion by Boeing service.
Acquiring GoRemote and merging the two companies’ service offerings thus broadens iPass’s portfolio, which is clearly a requirement, as is the expansion in its virtual network. It needs to mark out its strength in the space as a number of important challengers from the carrier world are snapping at its heels.
Most notable among them is Sprint Nextel, which is rolling out its Extended Workplace service, which like iPass offers a single client on the laptop and billing back home rather than on the spot, to geographies beyond the US, and clearly has global ambitions. BT Global Services has also revealed plans in this direction, though it is an earlier stage of development than either iPass or Sprint.