Spark-owned Qrious, the New Zealand telco's analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) business, has acquired WhereScape's data consulting division in a bid to up its data and analytics offerings.
According to Spark CEO Jolie Hodson, the acquired data consulting division, Now Consulting, reinforces Spark's strategy of making data services a core offering.
"Data is fast becoming a business' most valuable asset. When unleashed effectively, it provides a real competitive advantage," she said.
A Spark spokesperson told ZDNet the acquisition was about leveraging Qrious' existing strengths in data, analytics, AI, and data-powered customer engagement to expand upon the range of services it provides.
Now Consulting, will operate under the Qrious brand and add data integration, engineering, and visualisation capabilities to the company.
In the meantime however, Now Consulting will operate as it has been under Wherescape but it will be integrated into Qrious over the coming months, the Spark spokesperson added.
With the acquisition, Qrious' employee count will rise to over 170, making the company one of the largest data and analytics specialists in New Zealand.
It will also provide a boost for Spark's managed data and networks services, which saw a revenue drop of 4.8% to NZ$197 million in the 2019 fiscal year.
Beyond its managed data and network services, Spark performed strongly for the 2019 fiscal year, reporting a sharp increase in its profits which increased by 12% to NZ$409 million. This was despite the telco's revenue remaining flat at NZ$3.53 billion for the year.
Speaking to New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) ban of Huawei in Spark's 5G network at the time of its results announcement, the company said it was also currently working through its vendor selection process and considering whether it should present any mitigations to GCSB.
A New Zealand spectrum auction is expected to be held in late 2020.
"Spark is gearing up to launch 5G services as soon as relevant spectrum is available," Hodson said at the time.
A self-driving car connected to Spark's trial 5G network is being tested in Auckland's Innovation Precinct.
With Brookfield Asset Management to acquire the other 50%, the overall deal is worth a total NZ$3.4 billion.
There is enough competition for New Zealand to deregulate copper voice services, the Commerce Commission has decided.
5G will be launched in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown later this year.