IP Telephony news wrap-up for Mar 21 – 2006

Ma Bell is on her way back. AT&T announced earlier this month that it would buy BellSouth, a RBOC serving the southeast and a joint owner with AT&T of Cingular Wireless. The deal, expected to close within 12 months, is valued at $67 billion. BellSouth shareholders will receive 1.325 shares of AT&T common stock for each common share of BellSouth. After the acquisition, BellSouth and Cingular will both operate under the AT&T name.

As part of the agreement, Ed Whitacre will serve as chairman and CEO of AT&T, while Duane Ackerman will be chairman and CEO of BellSouth affiliated operations.

The acquisition raises speculation that other major U.S. telecommunication service providers will merge. Analysts are expecting Verizon to explore mergers with AllTel, Qwest, and possibly, a cell phone provider.

From a different perspective, the AT&T and BellSouth merger may slow each company’s deployment progress, providing the competition with an opportunity to gain even more ground.

AT&T
Bellsouth
Vonage filed a $250 million IPO with the SEC last month, after unsuccessfully trying to find a buyer willing to pay $2 billion for its consumer VoIP operations. The company considered a $600 million IPO but adjusted the IPO down before filing.

As part of the move, Jeff Citron switched job titles to chairman and chief strategist, and Mike Snyder stepped in as CEO. Although Citron is the company founder and holds a 41% stake in the company, he brings in baggage, especially for a 35-year old. In 2003, he paid $22.5 million to settle charges from the SEC that he engaged in improper trading while a chief executive at Datek Online Holdings.

Snyder’s nose isn’t altogether clean. He was president of ADT, while the company was involved in a $2 billion accounting scandal involving Tyco. Snyder came out of the company unscathed but ADT’s CEO and CFO both were convicted of criminal conduct.

In the filing, Vonage claims that it generated $174 million in revenues and a loss of $189.6 million. The service provider stated that it spent $232.4 million in marketing during 2004 and the first three quarters of 2005 and has plans to increase spending. Based on ’05 marketing expenses, the company spent $213.77 for each new customer. The filing included the ominous declaration that you should expect us to continue to generate net losses for the unforseeable future.

At the end of February, Vonage reported that its customer base grew to exceed 1.5 million subscribers, making it one of the largest VoIP service providers in North America.



Vonage
SigmaTel has introduced a family of 10-channel High Definition (HD) audio CODECs, the STAC9271/9272/9273/9274. The technology enables systems to simultaneously play 7.1-channel audio and VoIP or a second stereo audio stream. The new codecs have a SNR up to 105dB and support digital microphone interface and ADAT Optical lightpipe.

The 10-channel STAC9271/72/73/74 CODECs are targeted at PCs supporting applications like VoIP and speech recognition. The CODECs provide three stereo ADCs with 24-bit resolution, integrated headphone amps, and universal jacks functionality for jack retasking.

Software support is provided for Intel’s Audio Studio from Sonic Focus; Dolby PC Entertainment Experience; Maxx Player from Waves; WOW and Tru Surround from SRS Labs; microphone beam forming, acoustic echo cancellation and noise suppression from Knowles. Further support is extended for SigmaTel’s Kernel Processing Interface (SKPI); dynamics processing SKPI plug-in; and a 12 band parametric equalizer SKPI plug-in

The STAC9227/28/29/30 is currently sampling.

SigmaTel
eTelemetry has introduced Locate911, a network appliance that enables organizations to dynamically identify the physical location of a VoIP phone on their network. The technology includes closed-loop asset tracking and management capability by associating the IP phone to a specific physical location. When a phone is moved, Locate911 can be configured to automatically request verification from the phone’s assigned user, who must confirm the move before the phone will work at its new location. Locate911 can also notify the network manager when an IP phone is moved.

Alternatively, the network manager can choose to lock IP phones to a specific switch port. With this setting, the IP phone will only work at its assigned physical location and cannot be moved. In this way, the network manager can prevent unauthorized IP phone moves.

Locate911 dynamically provides a real-time accessible, searchable, and exportable database of IP phone’s physical location, IP address, end-user contact information and the VoIP MAC address.

The appliance requires no additional server software or client-side software agents. It supports all IP phones, and a web-based interface is provided for importing facilities information, VoIP MAC addresses, and network documentation.

Locate911 includes unlimited licenses and is available now.

eTelemetry
Atlantic Broadband will use Net2Phone’s managed consumer VoIP service to launch VoCable to its cable modem subscribers in Maryland, Delaware, Florida, and Pennsylvania, where the MSO’s networks pass 425,000 homes. Initially, the cable company will launch voice services in central Pennsylvania, where it serves 145,000 video subscribers.

Net2Phone will deploy the equipment, including Cedar Point’s switching system and will manage the VoIP service.

Net2Phone
Atlantic Broadband
California Software Labs (CSWL) has introduced PCMM Gate Control API, a SDK that includes high level APIs for implementing the QoS control components of Applications Manager, Policy Server and the CMTS, as specified by PacketCable standards. The SDK features complete COPS protocol implementation; an API that supports creation, modification, and deletion of gate objects; support for App Mgr, Policy Server and CMTS side PDP and PEP development; logging and tracing functionality; and support for event driven programming. The technology also supports different classes of services, on demand provisioning, and remote provisioning.



California Software Labs (CSWL)
AlphaComm Solutions BV, a telco based in the Netherlands, is planning to launch VoIP services across Europe. To deliver the service, the provider is deploying SysMaster’s Norfa system, which includes a softswitch, a billing platform, a gateway and an application server.

Alphacomm
SysMaster
Yahoo! Messenger has been enhanced with the option to use Siemens’ adapter and cordless phones to integrate the portal giant’s IM system within a phone system. Users will need to purchase and install Siemens’ Gigaset M34 USB adapter along with the vendor’s cordless phone system. The combined technology will enable users to not only make and receive phone calls to fixed phone lines but also place and receive calls through Messenger.

Siemens’ handsets will display Messenger information such as buddy lists. Users can view others’ presence status and change their own status with the phone.

Yahoo!
Siemens
Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced TNETV1061, a DSP that employs a dual processor architecture designed for residential VoIP CPE applications. Hardware features include a TMS320C55x DSP core and MIPS processor, memory interfaces (DDR and NAND Flash), support for Legerity and Silicon Labs’ interfaces, processing power to deliver 2 simultaneous voice channels for conferencing, an Ethernet 10/100 interface that supports AutoMDIX, and a VLYNQ interface to the company’s WLAN solution.

Software features include a set of vocoders (G.711, G.723.1A, G.726, G.729AB, GSM-FR, and GSM-AMR), support for 4 voice channels, Piqua voice quality management, line echo cancellation (G.168-2002), packet loss compensation/recovery, a SIP stack, RTP and SIP TLS, T.38 fax (T.30, V.17, V.29, V.27ter, and V.21), V.34, a conferencing bridge, caller ID, foreign voltage telephony line test, a Wi Fi access point, and a Linux OS.

The DSP will be in volume production in the second quarter of this year.



Texas Instruments
Cisco Systems has reported identifying multiple resellers offering conterfeit Cisco equipment. Last year, at least search warrants for four different locations were executed in the UK.

Cisco suggests that end-users be wary of prices too good to be true and to visit the premises of a reseller if there is a concern that the company may be dealing in fake Cisco goods.

Cisco Systems
IDT has finally reached an agreement to acquire the remaining share of Net2Phone that it doesn’t already own per an approximate $28.1 million deal. As part of the agreement, each issued and outstanding share of common stock and Class A common stock of Net2Phone, other than shares owned already by IDT and its affiliates, will be canceled and converted automatically into the right to receive $2.05 in cash, without interest. In addition, Net2Phone stock will cease to trade on the NASDAQ.

The buyout follows years of unsuccessful attempts by IDT to acquire the rest of the company. Ultimately, independent committees were commissioned to make recommendations resulting in a unanimous decision by the Net2Phone board of directors to approve the transaction.

Net2Phone
IDT
Vocalscape Networks has entered into a definite agreement to acquire Azatel Communications, in a deal that calls for Vocalscape to issue common shares in exchange for 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of Azatel. Azatel will become a Vocalscape subsidiary and Derek Herman will remain the the CEO.

Vocalscape develops softphone applications, billing systems, SIP servers, gatekeepers and virtual calling cards. Azatel manufactures and develops terminal adapters, softswitches, session border controllers, H.323/SIP interworking technology, and IPTV solutions.

Vocalscape Networks
Azatel Communications

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