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February 14, 2007

Sonus Networks Mounts Strategy For Low-Power GSM Market

By Spencer D. Chin, TMCnet Web Editor

Sonus Networks (News - Alert) is making a bold move into the low-power GSM market, as evidenced by a slew of announcements at the 3GSM (News - Alert) World Congress in Barcelona.
On Feb. 13, the VoIP infrastructure supplier said it would create end-to-end solutions to deliver voice service and multimedia applications that leverage low-power GSM picocell and femtocell technologies. The solution is designed to benefit network operators in regions where regulators have released new wireless licenses designed to put unused or underused spectrum into the market.
Sonus expects to leverage its IP Multimedia Subsystem (News - Alert) (IMS) architecture to create technology that results in better in-building coverage, thereby reducing the costs for traffic backhaul. The issue is not trivial, as research by Unstrung estimates that leveraging a VoIP infrastructure as part of a complete LP GSM solution could reduce backhaul costs from 50 Euro to 20 Euro per subscriber.
“Today’s consumers want the ability to move seamlessly between their homes and offices, and they are demanding the ability to customize services while on the go,” said Hassan Ahmed, chairman and chief executive of Sonus, in a statement. “Regulators in Europe are responding to this increasing demand with the release of additional spectrum that will enable network operators to deliver these ubiquitous services.”
By focusing on the GSM sector, Sonus is seeking to corner a market with more than 2 billion subscribers, accounting for 80% of global mobile network users.
Sonus has wasted little time teaming with other companies in the GSM sector. On Feb. 14, the company announced partnerships with two companies to develop voice services and multimedia applications for mobile handsets over low-power GSM networks.
One partnership is with 3Way Networks (Westford, Mass.), which has been shipping UMTS picocell and femtocell products since 2005. 3Way shipped over $2 million worth of equipment in 2006 and expects sales to increase four-fold in 2007.
The other partnership is with ip.acccess (Cambridge, UK), which manufactures picocell and femtocell infrastructure solutions for GSM, GPRS, Edge, and 3G networks. Ip.access has so far deployed 18 networks worldwide and expects to deploy more.
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Spencer Chin is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his
columnist page.

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