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August 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 8
Editorial Series Sponsorship

UniData’s WiFi Phones — Designed to Impress

By: Richard “Zippy” Grigonis

UniData Communication Systems (, founded in 1997 in South Korea, is an IP-based handset manufacturer, with the goal of creating a terminal or system of the future with a set of functions optimized and maximized for transferring video, voice, and data to and from any platform. The company points out that its IP handsets provide for users’ three Qs – QoS (Quality of Service), QoL (Quality of Life), and QoE (Quality of Experience).

To that end, UniData has brought a flair for both creativity and technical expertise in its development of everything from its first dial-up PC communication-based voice chatting solution, to today’s sophisticated WiFi (News - Alert)-enabled phones.

In 2000, for example, UniData developed a revolutionary H.323-based IP desktop telephone (IPW-2000), also known as an “IP Centrex phone,” which communicates over an Ethernet LAN connection and supports G.711, G.723.1, and G.729 audio codecs. It was one of the first devices that could place calls to through gatekeepers set up in an ISP, CLEC, or ITSP, whereupon the call would either continue as an IP call or hop off to the PSTN. Among its many capabilities was interoperability with the AG Communications/Lucent Technologies iMerge product.

Among UniData products, the IPW-2000 was awarded the Best of Show at CT Expo 2000 and received Editors’ Choice and Product of the Year awards from this magazine (Internet Telephony (News - Alert)) in 2001.

Starting with an ODM contract with Japan’s Hitachi Cable, UniData has been supplying Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based WiFi phones to the business market since 2004. Another one of UniData’s notable technical achievements is its Wireless IP5000, which was awarded Grand Prix at the Networld+Interop (News - Alert) Tokyo 2004 and was selected in 2005 as the favored terminal by Japan’s top-ranked company for wired communication. It’s an advanced wireless IP phone that provides crystal clear voice communication over an IEEE (News - Alert) 802.11b/g wireless IP network. The WirelessIP5000 supports the conveniences and functions of a digital phone such as hold and transfer, call waiting, caller ID, and also perfectly integrates with most PBX (News - Alert) and IP PBX systems along with a company’s existing wireless and wired networks.

Case Study – LG Dacom and the Consumer Market

LG Dacom is the second largest wireline telco in South Korea (part of LG Electronics (News - Alert)) that, after noticing a low number of subscribed household voice phone users, started up a voice and data service under the “myLG070” brand on June 20, 2007, partly in an effort to take the lead in Korea’s high-speed Internet market of 25 million households. As of June 2009, the company has garnered 1.5 million subscribed users. Later, LG Dacom added IPTV (News - Alert) service to its product mix, enhancing its position as the leading carrier of triple play service.

To differentiate itself from the competition and attract new customers, the company pursued bundling voice service in all IP environments and launched a “free calls between subscribers” program. As a result, LG Dacom today holds the largest share South Korean household market.

A year before helping LG Dacom start its service, UniData signed an Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) contract began developing the WiFI phones that LG Dacom would use as its endpoints for customers using the “myLG070” service – the WPU-7000 and the WPU-7700. As of March 2009, UniData had sold 350,000 units of the initial model WPU-7000 and 850,000 of the WPU-7700. UniData continues to be the phone supplier of choice to LG Dacom customers. Despite intense competition, LG Dacom’s service continues to attract customers. Indeed, LG Dacom managed to retain the customers who switched from wired to VoIP service by allowing them to keep their previous phone numbers. As a result, the company could raise its sales target in 2008 and again in 2009. LG Dacom plans on reaching 2.6 million subscribers by the end of 2009.

One reason for LG Dacom’s success is South Korea’s favorable environment – the number of the Internet users exceeded 90 percent of the population and bandwidth access soared to 100 Mbps from the expanded infrastructure. Another was the VoIP and IPTV combined sales market structure of South Korea. Lastly, the improved voice quality and customization involving the hardware and software architecture of UniData’s WPU-7700 appealed to both LG Dacom and its customers; its user-friendly features and sophisticated functions (SMS, weather, stock, shopping, etc.) were also factors contributing to the product’s success.

UniData has completed compatibility tests involving the WPU-7700 and Nortel (News - Alert), Avaya, and Broadsoft equipment and supplies the product foreign markets through 11 partners worldwide.

In September 2009, UniData will impress the world yet again as it releases the world’s first wireless video WiFi phones: the SQ-3500 and SQ-3100. IT

Richard Grigonis (News - Alert) is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group.

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