Toronto-based KnowRoaming pursues IoT with acquisition of mobile operator Telna

Toronto-based international data provider KnowRoaming has acquired mobile network operator Telna in order to pursue the IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) markets through offering a network as a service (NaaS).

“The idea with what we’re offering is — you don’t have to build your own mobile network or mobile agreements or understand how mobile networks work and invest in spectrum and all these different components that a network requires,” explained Gregory Gundelfinger, CEO of KnowRoaming and Telna in an interview with MobileSyrup. “We’ll give you the tools to be able to have the benefits of a mobile network but without having to own it.”

While this may seem like a change of pace for the brand, which is known for its innovative SIM roaming sticker and has more recently debuted a virtual ‘Soft SIM’ in partnership with Alcatel, Gundelfinger says that’s not quite the case.

“Is there a pivot that’s taking place in the company? I think that it’s becoming more of a platform than a singularly focused product. It’s becoming more a platform that’s been developed in a way that makes it very dynamic. Anybody that requires network services can utilize all that infrastructure without having to incur the types of costs that we did, to build and deploy.”

The acquisition has helped his company become completely vertically integrated, says Gundelfinger, offering everything from SIM cards to network infrastructure and commercial agreements. It also gains KnowRoaming access to the GSMA, an international trade body, as a member.

“The GSMA is like the UN for telecoms,” says Gundelfinger. “If you’re recognized by the GSMA, you have the ability to contract with other networks and you’re governed by the central regulatory body.”

KnowRoaming has been “strategically aligned” with Telna since 2014 when it began using the company as a supplier. Telna is a U.S.-based multi-IMSI network operator that provides international roaming through owned and partner networks worldwide.

Related: The best roaming options for Canadian travelers [2016 edition]