Source: Sonus Has BellSouth Deal
CHICAGO – Supercomm 2005 – BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS) is ramping up for a residential VOIP service launch within the next 12 months and has selected Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) as its softswitch supplier, according to an industry source with inside knowledge of negotiations.
The source, who requested anonymity, says Sonus landed the deal ahead of Siemens Communications Group. Sonus says there is no news to report at BellSouth, noting that the RBOC is already a customer.
But Sonus's initial engagement at BellSouth was four years ago, when the RBOC announced it would use Sonus technology to offload dialup Internet traffic from its circuit-switched network to reduce the traffic loads building in its Class 5 switches.
Now, following last year's launch of hosted business VOIP services using a gateway bolt-on system from Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), the carrier is believed to be gearing up for a broader VOIP service launch, and might even resell services from a specialist VOIP service provider such as 8x8 Inc. (Nasdaq: EGHT) to launch a service quickly while it deploys the Sonus gear.
BellSouth, which named Sonus as the Charity Sponsor of its Classic annual golf tournament in March this year, had not returned calls seeking comment as this article was published.
The deal would give Sonus a very strong position with the major U.S. operators. Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a long-time customer; Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is a customer; and AT&T Corp.'s (NYSE: T) extensive use of Sonus technology could give the softswitch vendor a big chance of extending into SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) once the two operators merge (see Sonus Details Verizon Deal, Q2 Results and SBC/AT&T: Possible Winners & Losers).
Sonus, which this week expanded on the IMS strategy outlined in a recent in-depth interview given by CTO Mike Hluchyj, has already been on the right side of the news this week (see Sonus Supports IMS and Mike Hluchyj, CTO, Sonus Networks). Its stock rose 6 percent yesterday to close at $4.64 as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ended its formal investigation into the company following its accounting issues during the past year or so (see Sonus Cleared by SEC, Stock Jumps).
Also this week, Sonus announced a micro version of its softswitch and named a Japanese cable company as a new customer (see Sonus Shrinks Its Softswitch and Japan's Jupiter Wants Sonus).
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading