Time Warner Talk Fuels Sonus

Softswitch vendor Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) is believed to have landed a significant new deal with a standing customer, Time Warner Telecom Inc. (Nasdaq: TWTC).

According to ThinkEquity Partners analyst Troy Jensen, Time Warner Telecom is spending about $26 million on a VOIP upgrade, with between $15 million and $20 million of that heading Sonus's way. Jensen is confident the purchase order went out in December.

Sonus wouldn't comment, while the operator hadn't responded to questions as this article was published.

The news, along with an upgrade from Goldman Sachs & Co. and a new partnership with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC), has helped Sonus to be one of the hottest stocks on the block this week. It closed Monday at $5.49, and currently stands at $6.14, an increase of nearly 12 percent.

The other vendors believed to be in line for a slice of the VOIP upgrade action are: hosted VOIP platform firm Sylantro Systems Corp., which won't comment on the "speculation"; IP messaging platform vendor IP Unity Inc., which "can't comment at this time"; and session border controller firm Kagoor Networks, which also just plain didn't have a comment.

Time Warner Telecom was one of Sonus's earliest customers, accounting for 16 percent of total revenues, about $8.3 million, in 2000. Since then, however, the operator hasn't figured as a significant customer.

Sonus, which this week appointed a new CFO, has been linked with a number of potential new contracts (see Sonus Appoints New CFO). Industry scuttlebutt has Sonus in trials at SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC), close to a deal with Vonage Holdings Corp., set to announce a deployment at Indian powerhouse Reliance Infocomm Ltd., and lined up for some next-generation network action at BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA). (See Sonus Sets for a Critical Q1 and BT Has 21CN Shortlists.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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