Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Nortel Global Operations Center in Istanbul

Nortel opened a new Global Operations Center of Excellence in Istanbul to help provide enhanced technical support services to its service provider customers around the world. The facility provides technical and operational support to Nortel customers deploying next-generation mobile, converged, metro Ethernet and optical networks. This includes product support for global customers, network technical support for customers in North America, and network integration and technical support for customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Verso to Acquire sentitO for VoIP Gateway

Verso Technologies agreed to acquire privately held sentitO Networks, a supplier of voice gateways, for approximately 7.7 million restricted shares of Verso common stock, 2.2 million of which are subject to escrow provisions, and warrants to purchase approximately 841,000 shares of Verso common stock, subject to certain conditions and approvals. Shares in Verso (Nasdaq: VRSO) traded on Thursday at $0.96.

Founded in 2000, sentitO supplies open and distributed VoIP gateway solutions for telecommunications service providers worldwide. The sentitO Open Network Xchange (ONX) architecture enables new, innovative voice services by providing media and signaling conversion utilizing session initiation protocol (SIP) technology.

Verso said the acquisition complements its existing portfolio and opens up new distribution and market opportunities. Verso intends to maintain its valuable relationship with AudioCodes as a source for optical and other gateway products.

Verso expects that certain of sentitO's resellers and their strategic affiliations in Russia will allow Verso to expand in the Russian and Eastern European markets with an experienced partner.

Pursuant to the merger agreement, an additional $3.0 million of Verso common stock will be issued through an earn-out provision based on Verso achieving a $12.0 million revenue target during the 12 month period following the closing of the acquisition that is attributable to the sentitO business. In addition, the merger agreement provides that 1.2 million shares of Verso common stock will be held in escrow and released based upon the completion of certain in-progress customer activity and approximately 1.0 million shares of Verso common stock will be held in escrow to satisfy potential indemnity claims.
  • In January 2007, Verso Technologies acquired the iMarc product line from Paradyne Networks, Inc., a subsidiary of Zhone Technologies. Verso had previously served as a reseller of Zhone products. Under the deal, Verso will pay $2.5 million. In addition, Zhone will provide contract manufacturing services to Verso for a period of up to six months. Verso will then purchase from Zhone the inventory relating to the iMarc product line.

  • In August 2006, sentitO Networks raised $6 million in venture financing for its intelligent voice gateway and signaling solution. The funding round was led by Columbus Nova Capital, an affiliate of Russian-based RENOVA Group of Companies, with previous investors Core Capital Partners, Inflection Point Ventures, Kodiak Venture Partners, Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds, and Technology Venture Partners also participating.

  • sentitO's Open Network Xchange (ONX) architecture and distributed VoIP media and signaling gateway solutions provide media and signaling conversion between the PSTN and IP networks. sentitO's ONX solution set includes the IVG1200 Intelligent Voice Gateway, Proxy7 Signaling Gateway, and PreVision Network Manager.

  • sentitO recently announced it has been certified to commercially deploy its VoIP infrastructure equipment in Russia by Infokom, the Center of Examination and Certification. The certification confirms mandatory quality, functionality and interoperability requirements for commercial deployment in Russian networks. sentitO's VoIP infrastructure products are currently deployed in China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Russia, Singapore, and the U.S., among others.

Alcatel-Lucent Supplies IP Communications for Russia's Gazprom

Alcatel-Lucent has delivered a state-of-the-art IP communication solution for Gazprom neft, Russia's fastest-growing oil company. The installation serves more than 3,000 employees at Gazprom's oil processing factory in the city of Omsk. Based on the Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise IP telephony platform, the solution includes Alcatel-Lucent's newest VoIP handsets. All nodes of the network are interconnected to ensure a feature rich environment and to unite existing systems into a single, integrated enterprise communication platform. Alcatel-Lucent also delivered Alcatel-Lucent IP Touch phones. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nokia Siemens Networks Supplies GEPON to Indonesia's Biznet

Nokia Siemens Networks will supply its Gigabit Ethernet Passive Optical Network (GE-PON) technology to the Indonesian Internet provider Biznet.

Biznet, Indonesia's premium ISP and data center provider, has launched new FTTH access service based on Siemens Surpass hiX 5404 -- Optical Network Termination (ONT) and Siemens SURPASS hiX 5430: Optical Line Termination (OLT) GE-PON (Gigabit Ethernet -- Passive Optical Network) technology.

Biznet MetroNET Prepaid Internet Service is a broadband service for both business and residential users with a connection speed up 100 Mbps for both download and upload. As of 2007, current Biznet MetroNET Prepaid Internet Service is available maximum at 5 Mbps. Biznet MetroNET also offers value added services such as Biznet Bandwidth on Demand and Biznet SafeSurf.

Pipex Wireless Selects Nokia Siemens Networks for WiMAX

Pipex Wireless, a new venture formed in April 2006 by Pipex Communications and Intel Capital to develop and roll-out a WiMAX network into the UK market, has selected Nokia Siemens Networks as a key partner.

Pipex Wireless will use Nokia Siemens Networks' equipment, services and networking expertise to widen its roll-out of WiMAX powered broadband wireless services nationwide. Pipex Wireless and Nokia Siemens Networks are now working on equipment specification, network design and service definition in readiness for a pilot deployment during this year.

Pipex Wireless owns a national spectrum license in the 3.6 to 4.2 GHz frequency range allowing it to deploy new and innovative broadband wireless services.

Digital Music Group (DMG) to Sell Content on Amazon Unbox

Digital Music Group, a content owner and global leader in the digital distribution of independently owned music, television, film and video catalogs, will begin offering its television and film content through Amazon Unbox.

DMGI currently controls the digital distribution rights to more than 4,000 hours of video content.

Amazon Unbox is the latest in a growing list of digital video services added to the DMGI distribution network that includes YouTube, the iTunes Store, Google Video, and In2TV, among others.

Veraz Networks Completes IPO

Veraz Networks Inc. completed an initial public offering (IPO) and began trading on NASDAQ under the symbol "VRAZ". Veraz is a leading global provider of IP softswitches, media gateways and digital compression products that enable voice, video and other multimedia services. ECI Telecom Ltd. holds approximately 40% of Veraz.

Veraz priced its initial public offering on NASDAQ at $8 per share (before underwriting discounts), expecting to raise gross proceeds of $54 million (before underwriting discounts and expenses), selling 6,750,000 shares. In addition, ECI planned to sell 2,250,000 shares at the public offering price. The underwriters were granted a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,012,500 shares of common stock by Veraz and up to an additional 337,500 shares by ECI at the initial public offering price to cover over-allotments, if any.

The offering was made through an underwriting syndicate let by Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Lehman Brothers Inc. who acted as joint book-running managers. Jefferies & Company and Raymond James & Associates, Inc. acted as co-managers for the offering.

VRAZ closed at $7.80 after its first day of trading.

Nokia Makes Patent Payment, QUALCOMM Files Arbitration Demand

Nokia made a payment of US$20 million to QUALCOMM for patent licenses covering the second quarter 2007. Nokia and QUALCOMM have had patent license agreements since 1992 and Nokia's obligations to pay license fees under the old agreements partially expire on April 9, 2007.

Nokia said the payment announced today does not extend, and is not related to, the old agreement. Rather, it is based on the licenses that QUALCOMM has agreed and provided through the European Telecommunication Standardization Institute (ETSI).

"As we continue to negotiate the new cross-license agreement, Nokia views this payment as fair and reasonable compensation for the use of relevant Qualcomm essential patents in Nokia UMTS handsets during the second quarter of 2007. Nokia believes that Qualcomm's patent portfolio is concentrated in the United States, and that it has few or no alleged UMTS patents in many of the countries in which Nokia has substantial UMTS handset sales. When Qualcomm's early patents become paid-up and royalty-free on April 9, 2007 Qualcomm's share of all patents relevant to Nokia UMTS handsets will significantly decrease", said Rick Simonson, chief financial officer, Nokia.

In response, QUALCOMM filed a demand with the American Arbitration Association, seeking a ruling that Nokia's continued use of QUALCOMM's patents in Nokia's CDMA cellular handsets (including WCDMA) after April 9, 2007 constitutes an election by Nokia to extend its license under the parties' existing agreement. QUALCOMM said such an extension would obligate Nokia to pay QUALCOMM the same royalty specified in the current agreement and prohibit Nokia from asserting patent claims against QUALCOMM's CDMA products. QUALCOMM also seeks a ruling that it is entitled to terminate all of Nokia's rights and licenses under the agreement if Nokia sues QUALCOMM for patent infringement after April 9, 2007.

Cantata Names Timothy L. Murray as CEO

Cantata Technology announced the appointment of Timothy Murray to the position of CEO, replacing Marc Zionts, who will remain with the company in an advisory capacity, serving as Vice Chairman. Murray spent more than 20 years in senior executive positions at AT&T, including as Executive Vice President, Business Service Operations; President, Business Network Services; and, Vice President, Middle Market Business Unit. Prior to joining Cantata Technology, Murray held the positions of President and CEO of Cross Match Services, a leading provider of biometric identification services.

Mintera Ships its 40 Gbps Optical Transport Platform

Mintera, a start-up based in Acton, Mass., announced its flagship product, the MI 40000XS, is shipping to customers in the North America and EMEA regions. Mintera's MI 40000XS is the company's 40 Gbps DWDM transport subsystem and is already shipping to customers in the Asia Pacific region.

Mintera's new platform features a patent-pending spectrally efficient modulation format and built-in adaptive dispersion mitigation technology to deliver improved chromatic and polarization dispersion tolerances. The company said the combination of these technologies makes 40 Gbps as easy to deploy as 10 Gbps transport.

The design of the MI 40000XS platform is based upon the emerging AdvancedTCA300 industry standard.

Network Equipment Technologies Cites Stronger Sales

Citing strong sales activity in the second half of its fiscal year, Network Equipment Technologies now expects 2007 fourth quarter revenues to be in the range of $24.7 to $25.2 million, which is more than 80 percent greater than the same period of fiscal 2006.

The company had forecast revenues for its 2007 fourth quarter in the range of $22.5 to $24.5 million. Ending cash for the quarter is expected to be approximately $90 million, as compared to its guidance of approximately $85 million. The higher cash balance is due both to increased sales and to proceeds from the exercise of stock options.