VoIP Systems

Are ECI & Sonus an Item?

10:20 AM -- A new industry relationship between broadband, Ethernet, and optical equipment vendor ECI Telecom Ltd. and VoIP system specialist Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) is being forged, and will likely result in a formal partnership to be announced during the next few months, Light Reading has learned.

The relationship came to light following last week's news that ECI had teamed up with another VoIP and IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) vendor, Italtel SpA . It turned out that partnership was very much weighted towards Italtel integrating ECI's technology and taking it to customers, but not so much the other way around. (See ECI, Italtel Team Up.)

So why is the ECI/Italtel tie-up asymmetrical? Because ECI says it's working closely with a "large VoIP player" with which it has already won some new business -- and it appears that company is Sonus.

And Sonus needs, and is actively looking for, partners that can help take its technology to market following a series of cutbacks that has decimated its international marketing capabilities. The VoIP gear company's new drive is to find new distribution models, including forging relationships with OEM partners, as it focuses more on developing capabilities for enterprise users. (See Sonus Cuts Again.)

While ECI wouldn't comment on the identity of its new partner, a Sonus representative, when asked whether it had developed a partnership with the Israeli vendor, noted that Light Reading's assessments were "in the right ballpark."

The relationship fits the model of mid-sized companies looking to combine their strengths to combat the increasing squeeze they're feeling from the major vendors, such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , and Nokia Networks . (See Survival of the Smartest.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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