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P-Cube Salsas With BellSouth

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LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
5/24/2004

Data services platform startup P-Cube Inc. has struck a high-profile win at BellSouth International's Latin American subsidiaries, Unstrung can exclusively reveal.

A spokesman for P-Cube confirmed the deal but was unable to divulge specific details.

According to one anonymous source, P-Cube’s kit has been deployed in “a couple” of BellSouth’s Latino subsidiaries, with a “gradual rollout” across further networks expected later this year. The product will be used to manage traffic in the wireless network.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., vendor has beaten out rivals ProQuent Systems Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to secure the deal. BellSouth International -- which is in the process of being acquired by Telefònica SA -- provides services in ten Latin American countries and boasts a total of approximately 13 million subscribers (see Telefónica Buys BellSouth Ops).

P-Cube has developed what it calls a “Service Control Platform” (SCP), which can be used by service providers to monitor and control data traffice for various applications. In a wireless network, as it's being used at BellSouth's Latin American subsidiaries, the SCP sits off to the side of the GPRS gateway support node (GGSN) or the packet data serving node (PDSN) in wireless networks. The kit aims to enable operators to create, rate, and bill for new data services without needing to upgrade their transport infrastructures.

Today P-Cube also announced it's upgrading its platform with a new high-end box, the Service Engine 2000, which supports two 2-Gbit/s links for a total capacity of 4 Gbit/s. The box also supports OC3, OC12, STM1, and STM4, including packet-over-Sonet (POS) interfaces (see P-Cube Cranks Up Engine).

The BellSouth deal follows wins at Hutchison 3G Italy and Pelephone Communications Ltd. announced last February, and is based on an earlier partnership with UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI). (See P-Cube Strikes Double Deal and UTStarcom Selects P-Cube.)

The contract also gives P-Cube an edge over rival startups ProQuent and Megisto Systems Inc., which have only notched up one publicly announced win each (see ProQuent Wins Portugese Deal and Megisto Maxes Up).

Despite such success, analysts warn that P-Cube is likely to face stronger opposition in the future. "While P-Cube can point to wins in mobile operators, the product line is first and foremost a solution for fixed-wireless operators," comments Current Analysis's Ken Rehbehn. "There is still plenty of room for suppliers like Megisto and ProQuent -- vendors that have focused on mobile operator needs first." — Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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