Ubiquity Moves Closer to AT&T
Under the agreement, Ubiquity will sell its SIP (Session Initiated Protocol) Application Servers “for testing and use in delivering new, enhanced broadband services over an integrated Voice over IP (VoIP) network,” according to the Ubiquity release Tuesday. (See Ubiquity Enters Lab Trials .)
The company says it's been engaged with the late SBC for at least a year, and that the relationship is now yielding revenue. “I can’t discuss the details but I can tell you this is not a free trial,” Ubiquity marketing director Gary Gray told Light Reading Monday.
Backed by renowned venture capitalist Sir Terry Matthews, Ubiquity was among the first telecom software companies to embrace SIP back in 1999. With carriers moving toward the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and the converged services it makes possible, Ubiquity and its peers are seeing increased visibility these days. (See Nortel Uses Ubiquity's SIP Tech and IBM Resells Ubiquity SIP Software.)
Yankee Group Research Inc. forecasts the market for telecom-grade, SIP-based application servers will reach $4.7 billion by 2009. (See IMS Crunch Time.)
Gray says his company’s software is being used by AT&T to develop next-generation VOIP applications as the “foundations of an AT&T IMS strategy.” That said, AT&T has either not yet arrived at a firm set of Ubiquity-developed applications, or it is keeping the nature of the applications secret until launch. (See Bell Canada SIPs With Ubiquity and SipStorm Offers VOIP With Ubiquity.)
“This is in a lab trial context,” Gray says. “What is tested in the lab may never actually see the light of day, but they are just trying to figure out what services are possible and which ones will be valuable to the consumers.” (See United Picks Ubiquity.)
Tuesday's announcement couldn't be found on the AT&T Website, but AT&T spokesman Joe Dugan confirmed that a "business relationship" had begun between the two companies in December. Dugan declined to talk about the applications AT&T intends to develop. "This is for testing only at this point and it is premature to say where it will lead to down the road."
But one can get a rough idea of what might be cooking in the AT&T labs by looking at Ubiquity’s past creations.
They are “point to multi-point applications where one person begins a session and then can conference in many people to share a variety of things including multimedia like pictures, music, or even video or any kind of sharing of the triple play services of carriers,” Gray says.
For instance, Ubiquity recently announced the deployment of a SIP application that allows two or more cell phone users to listen to MP3s and talk about the music in real time. (See Readers Pick IMS Killer Apps.)
In short, Ubiquity is building the applications that exploit all the promises of converged IMS networks. They utilize content and other resources on wired and wireless networks, and quickly assemble them as new services that can be delivered to a variety of end points.
Frost & Sullivan analyst Ronald Gruia says Ubiquity’s announcement Tuesday suggests it is making inroads into the networks of some large U.S. carriers. SBC announced Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) as its “IMS supplier” back in October, but AT&T, Guria believes, may be pushing Lucent to work with Ubiquity on the SIP applications. (See SBC Jumps on Lucent IMS Bandwagon.)
“Lucent has its own IMS application suite but this shows that Ubiquity has acquired some significant mindshare in the space,” Gruia told Light Reading Monday.
BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS) and AT&T co-own Cingular Wireless , and all three companies have now named Lucent as equipment provider/integrator in new IMS deployments. (See Lucent Lands BellSouth IMS Deal and Cingular Picks Lucent for IMS.)
With AT&T’s blessing it now seems possible that Ubiquity will win some SIP application server business at BellSouth and Cingular as well. The three carriers' uniform choice of Lucent as IMS supplier was no accident. And the same logic may hold true for the choice of SIP applications and servers. For those applications may one day be asked to integrate resources from all three networks. (See Is an SBC/BellSouth Merger Next?.)
Ubiquity now has 235 employees, up from 167 at the time of its IPO last May. The company is headquartered in Cardiff, Wales and has corporate offices in the U.S., Canada, Japan, and China. Ubiquity is listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange. (See Ubiquity Plans London IPO.)
— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading