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OSS

Major Vendors Kiss OSS

NICE, France -- Management World 2008 -- How times have changed. Only a few years ago the OSS market was almost the exclusive domain of specialists such as Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), and Telcordia Technologies Inc. -- now it's like a who's who of the telecom vendor community. (See Vendor Giants Go Soft.)

While there's no shortage of specialist software firms here in Nice plying their trade, the ever expanding show floor at the TM Forum 's annual OSS jamboree features nearly all of the big box vendors, most of whom are increasingly vocal about just what big players they are in the telecom software world, courtesy, in many cases, of their software partners.

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) broadened its telecom software partnership portfolio by announcing a post-paid billing system collaboration with Convergys Corp. (NYSE: CVG). AlcaLu already has a pre-paid billing solution, as do most of the major equipment vendors, but this new relationship means it can now meet the needs of carriers wanting an integrated pre- and post-paid billing solution, according to Johanne Mayer, Alcatel-Lucent’s director of OSS/BSS. (See AlcaLu Highlights OSS and AlcaLu, Convergys Team Up.)

    AlcaLu previously partnered with LHS Group for post-paid billing, but LHS was acquired last year by Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and "we're not in the habit of handing over money to Ericsson," says Mayer. (See Ericsson Buys Billing Vendor LHS.)

    AlcaLu will target Tier 2 and Tier 3 carriers in emerging markets in Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe with the combined proposition.

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) also announced a partnership, though, fittingly for an event at France's Cote D'Azur, it had a touch of déjà vu about it.

    The router vendor has teamed up with Amdocs to offer a pre-integrated package of the software giant's service assurance capabilities with Cisco's Active Network Abstraction (ANA) to provide "multi-vendor, multi-technology discovery and reconciliation capabilities." Or in other words, find out what the hell is going on in your network. (See Amdocs, Cisco Team Up.)

    If this sounds familiar, it's because almost exactly a year ago the two companies announced a "collaboration" to, well, deliver a "new offering [that] will incorporate OSS products from Cramer, Amdocs OSS Division, and utilize Cisco’s Active Network Abstraction." (See Amdocs, Cisco Team on OSS.)

    Wonder what next year's press release will say?

    Cisco is clearly taking a partnership approach to the OSS sector, as it has also teamed up with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Nokia Networks during the past year. (See Cisco, IBM Team on OSS and Cisco, Nokia Siemens Team Up.)

  • Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) has other collaborations too. The vendor's Operations and Business Software (OBS) unit, now headed up by Juhani Hintikka, is working with network probe specialists Nexus Telecom AG , Polystar , and Radcom Ltd. to provide carriers with a "harmonized view" of customer traffic data. (See NSN Monitors Traffic.)

    Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) is working with NSN to get a better view of what's going on with its customer traffic.

    NSN has also been working with Sun Microsystems Inc. , Tail-f Systems , and Xelas Software to help make systems integration easier, quicker, and cheaper for carriers.

    NSN has also just announced a service delivery platform (SDP) deal with mobile operator PT Indosat Tbk .

  • Nortel Networks Ltd. , meanwhile, has teamed up with IBM (well, who hasn't?) to target carriers looking to better manage their VOIP services. Basically, Nortel is combining its professional services capabilities with IBM's Tivoli Netcool Carrier VoIP Manager. (Try saying that five times really fast after three Mojitos -- it's hard!) (See Nortel, IBM Team on OSS.)

    Nortel is also involved in one of the OSS Catalyst Showcases at this year's event. The Harmony II Catalyst is focused on carrier Ethernet service management (yes, we're talking PBT here), and a host of other companies, including BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Iona Technologies (Nasdaq: IONA), and Soapstone Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SOAP) are involved. (See Soapstone Shows Off at TMW and A Guide to PBT/PBB-TE.)

    Other OSS news announcements of note from this week include:

    — Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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