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Cisco Sticks With CSG

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) appears in no hurry to deploy the wireless kit acquired from its $200 million deal last week with data service platform startup P-Cube Inc. (see Cisco Plucks P-Cube for $200M).

The companies were staunch rivals in the wireless “traffic-management” market, developing products for service providers that aim to monitor, control, and bill data traffic for various applications.

Cisco’s Content Services Gateway (CSG) product provides the billing component of the Cisco Mobile Exchange (CMX) and touts Hutchison 3G Italy as its only publicly listed success story. Meanwhile, startup P-Cube has spent the last few months talking up a bevy of contract wins for its Service Control Platform (SCP) product range (see P-Cube Strikes Double Deal and P-Cube Salsas With BellSouth).

Despite P-Cube’s apparent lead in this space, Cisco states it is not about to undergo a radical shakeout of its wireless offering. “The Cisco Mobile Exchange will continue to be the primary vehicle for unified service control and billing for the mobile operators,” says spokesman Ron Piovesan.

“Cisco has worked hard to integrate its different box solutions for CMX, including the Content Services Gateway function, into a single 7600-based platform,” notes Ken Rehbehn, principal analyst for wireless infrastructure at Current Analysis. “It is unlikely the P-Cube solution will be boiled down to a single blade ready for insertion into the 7600.”

Cisco does admit, however, that its long-term plans are likely to involve closer integration between the two products. Cisco has already stated that it plans to integrate P-Cube’s technology into its own wireline routers.

“As the P-Cube technology is introduced into Cisco routing platforms, we will look to leverage P-Cube technology into the Cisco Mobile Exchange,” adds Piovesan.

Current Analysis’s Rehbehn is unsurprised. “At the end of the day, Cisco may simply offer it as a complement to the 7600 for the most demanding of content processing applications.”

— J-Cube Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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