Softswitch vendor has found a way into the Bell Canada family through the small Quebec subsidiary

February 13, 2007

2 Min Read
MetaSwitch Wins at Télébec

Softswitch vendor Metaswitch Networks says it's won a deal to build a VOIP network for BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE) subsidiary Télébec LP , and the vendor says it's the first time Télébec has deployed a non-Nortel Networks Ltd. switch in its network. (See MetaSwitch Wins Telebec.)

"This is probably one of the first wins in the Class 5 space, in the consumer-facing services space, where you can point to a startup vendor like MetaSwitch overturning an incumbent vendor in a very established account," MetaSwitch marketing VP Andy Randall says.

MetaSwitch says it will build an "IP overlay" of signaling gateways, voice application servers and Class 5 softswitches upon Télébec's legacy Nortel TDM switches.

Télébec spokesman Alain Danault says the MetaSwitch gear will allow his company to launch a consumer VOIP service to compete with the likes of Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG).

Nortel points out that you can't lose if you don't play. "This was a small opportunity that Nortel chose not to bid on," says Nortel spokesman Bo Gowan. "Our decision not to bid on this contract should not imply any change in our larger relationship with Bell Canada."

Still, technically, the Télébec deal gives MetaSwitch a foot in the door at a Tier 1, a market the vendor has pledged to enter.

Télébec serves 180,000 subscribers in a large, sparsely populated area covering about half of Quebec. If viewed separately from its large parent, Télébec looks a lot like the Tier 2 or 3 carriers that now comprise nearly all of MetaSwitch's business. So Télébec is a logical place for the vendor to start dealing with the Bell Canada family. (See CLECs Love MetaSwitch, Cisco.)

Independent VOIP analyst Jon Arnold says Bell Canada will keep a close eye on how well the MetaSwitch gear performs and scales. A good experience at Télébec might lead to Bell Canada buying MetaSwitch gear for other parts of its vast network, Arnold says.

MetaSwitch went through the full compliment of Bell Canada vendor compliance testing before the deal was signed, says MetaSwitch's Randall, who notes that his company won't have to repeat that process if other Bell Canada companies decide to buy MetaSwitch gear in the future.

The financial terms of the Télébec/MetaSwitch agreement aren't being revealed by the companies.

MetaSwitch is a subsidiary of U.K.-based Data Connection Ltd. (DCL) , which in November reported yearly revenues of $87 million. The company says its MetaSwitch business contributes about 53 percent of sales. (See Data Connection Grows.)

— Mark Sullivan, Réportér, Light Reading

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