Feature Article

October 17, 2013

Macheen Brings New Twist to Mobile Data Connectivity

Cellular service providers today typically charge a set monthly fee for mobile data, and users are stuck paying the full amount regardless of their actual use. But a company called Macheen, which is backed by some very notable investors, breaks that mold by enabling people and companies to pay only for the applications, bandwidth and time on the network they actually use. Macheen refers to this practice as fractionalization.

By fractionalizing, or pinpointing applications, Macheen can address both a corporation’s internal requirements and the machine-to-machine opportunity. For example, say a company is willing to pay for mobile Internet access for employees, but because of the cost it can only afford to get it for top executives. Macheen could enable that company pay only for mobile broadband for e-mail access, making it more affordable for the firm to offer wireless Internet to a larger group of employees, explains CEO Greg Stock. He adds that more than 60 percent of business applications now live in the cloud, yet the average company only provides 7 percent of its workforce with data plans.

Macheen wholesales wireless connectivity from Sprint in the U.S., and from two other carriers in Europe, which allows it to offer services in 80 countries – with local rates in 11 countries and roaming rates in the other 69. The company provides a single SIM card through which end users can access these networks in all these locations.

Image via Shutterstock

But what’s really interesting about what Macheen offers, says Stock, is the intelligence it adds to the network. Here, Stock is referring to Macheen’s billing system and its front-end system that enables rule-based administration so the network knows which users can use which applications and/or what amount of bandwidth.

Investors of Macheen, which aims to become break even within 12 months, include venture capital firms North Bridge Venture Partners and Mercury Fund; former Dell CFO Tom Meredith; former Microsoft president Mike Maples, Sr.; Gemalto and Qualcomm.

Qualcomm is also one of Macheen’s 10 customer accounts. Qualcomm has 13,000 employees that use the Macheen solution; they are using Macheen to access certain applications for internal use. For employees that want more wireless network capacity than that Qualcomm covers for them, Macheen allows that by providing split billing between work and personal usage.

“In a BYOD environment, we’re instrumental,” says Stock.

Macheen goes to market both via direct sales to enterprise and through partnerships relating to the retail channel. For example, PC company Lenovo offers Macheen service when customers boot up their new laptops. Stock indicates that Macheen will expand its profile in the retail arena in the near future via some additional partnerships with large brands in the gaming, smartphone and other consumer electronics realms.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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