IP Telephony news wrap-up for Jun 19 – 2006

Nokia and SIemens have agreed to merge their phone equipment divisions in a deal valued at approximately $31.5 million. The combined divisions will result in a new company to be called Nokia Siemens Networks. The interest will be 50/50, but the headquarters will be in Nokia’s home country of Finland, the company will be headed by Nokia’s Simon Beresford-Wylie, and it will receive a majority of the board seats. The businesses to be merged generated $20 billion in revenue last year.

Both companies plan to cut 10-15 percent of their staff of over 60,000 employees within the next four years.

In recent news, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. FTC approved the planned merger between Lucent and Alcatel, in a deal that calls for Alcatel to pay $14 billion to acquire the U.S. based telecom vendor. The merger is still subject to more approvals including Lucent and Alcatel shareholders, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and the European Union.

If approved by the remaining parties, the merged company will announced its new name and move its headquarters to Paris. Analysts expect the deal to close next year.

Vonage has announced that it is being sued by Verizon for infringing on seven different patents related to VoIP. In addition, the residential VoIP service provider is being hit with a wave of class action lawsuits filed on behalf of customers that were allowed to purchase IPO stock. The lawsuits allege that Vonage failed to meet legal obligations with its offering approach. Some of the law firms involved with the class actions include Stull, Stull, & Brody; Spector, Roseman & Kodroff; and Schiffrin & Barroway.

This morning, Vonage was trading at a historic low at $8.84 per share. The IPO was launched on May 24th at $17 per share, which was considered the mid-point of the company’s valuation.

Skype functionality has been introduced within 14 categories on eBay’s web site and its use will be evaluated before expanding systemwide. Sellers will have the option to add a Skype Me button to their listings when completing the Sell Your Item form. If the Skype option is selected, a Skype Me button will appear in a new Ask a Seller a Question section. By clicking on the button, buyers and sellers will be able to communicate via voice, chat or both.

The categories that will feature Skype during its evaluation include segments that are either technology related or draw expensive items such as real estate and cars.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has unanimously affirmed all of the FCC’s rules in all respects to the organization’s Triennal Review Remand Order (TRRO). The TRRO established phone network unbundling rules that provide competitive carriers with access to local network facilities that cannot be duplicated.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Primus Telecommunications Group has received a Staff Determination Letter from NASDAQ notifying the service provider that it is subject to be delisted from the stock market because its stock price is trading under $1 per share. As with nearly every company that receives this letter, Primus intends to request a hearing before the Listing Qualifications Panel to review the move. The hearing automatically delays a delisting until the panel has ruled on the appeal.

Primus Telecommunications Group
Fusion Telecommunications International has launched efonica, a VoIP service that offers free calling as either PC to phone or phone to PC. The service, which utilizes the company’s softphone, features caller ID, call waiting, 3-way calling, call forwarding, call transfer, call hold and do not disturb. Subscribers must dial the prefix 10 before dialing a destination number.

Fusion plans to introduce a fee based phone to phone VoIP service, efonica Plus, that will include voicemail.

Fusion Telecommunications International

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