1. Verizon Likely to Acquire MCI; Both Boards Approve Offer
The boards for both Verizon and MCI have approved an offer by Verizon to acquire MCI for $6.75 billion in cash, shares and dividends. The offer was accepted despite a bid by Qwest that was valued at nearly $8 billion in cash and stock. Some shareholders wanted a better proposal from Verizon, but ultimately were most concerned about avoiding a deal with Qwest, which carries a debt load twice the amount of its stock market value.
Regardless of the board approvals, Qwest plans to modify and submit another offer. The provider needs to make the bid high enough for MCI to disregard Qwest’s $17 billion debt; its Q4 loss of 88,000 residential access lines, 42,000 business access lines, and 24,000 wireless subscribers; its potential difficulties in financing the acquisition; and the risk of debarment it faces from the General Services Administration.
The acquisition of MCI will mark the end of national, independent, circuit switched long distance carriers in the U.S.
Verizon has a market value of $100 billion and at the end of 2004, had a debt load of $39.3 billion.
Verizon stock has been trading around $35 per per share, the lowest the stock has traded since last August. Qwest stock has been trading at around $4 per share.
3. Cisco Introduces Professional Level Voice Certification
Cisco Systems has introduced the Certified Voice Professional certification (CCVP), a status achieved through course work and examinations that prepare engineers, integrators, and installers to install, configure, operate, manage, and troubleshoot converged IP networks based on CallManager and IOS software. Applicants to the program must already have an associate level CCNA certification.
The curriculum includes courses in QoS, VoIP, troubleshooting, and gateway/gatekeeper technology. Program participants will become experts at complex enterprise CallManager networks; be able to use QoS features such as queuing, congestion avoidance, traffic policing, shaping and link efficiency mechanisms; and be knowledgeable and skillful in the use of IOS software on networks using either SIP, H.323, or MGCP protocols.
5. McLeodUSA & iiNet Using BroadSoft to Deliver VoIP Services
McLeodUSA, a CLEC offering telecom services in 25 U.S. states, has said that it plans to launch IP based business services including hosted IP PBX, business trunking, hosted Key System and IP multimedia services. iiNet, the fourth largest ISP in Australia, has announced that it will launch consumer VoIP services by mid-year. The service will support advanced features such as voicemail to email, Outlook integration, and video calling. Both providers will deliver their respective services using BroadSoft’s BroadWorks’ platform.
7. Legerity Unveils 1FXS + 1FXO VoIP Chipset & 1FXO CODEC
Legerity has introduced three new products within its VoicePort family including the Le88311, Le88331, and Le88010. The first two devices, designed for VoIP CPE, are programmable, single chip voice solutions supporting one complete FXS channel and the FXO CODEC. The chips are pin-compatible options for 100v or 150v ringing. The Le88010 is a stand-alone FXO CODEC.
A complete 1FXS + 1FXO solution in a dual chip implementation can be achieved when Legerity’s new chips are integrated with Clare’s DAAs.
The Le88311 and Le88331 are available for production orders. The first will be available for $3.60 per chip in high volume. The FXO CODEC is available in high volume now for $1.40 per device.