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Rich Tehrani
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NextPoint Analysis

December 11, 2007

If you meet David Walsh a partner with One Equity Partners, you immediately think banker. For those of you who may not frequent the tiny (and blisteringly cold when I was there) island of Manhattan, banker generally means investment banker. At a telecom conference you can always pick out the bankers because they dress nicer than most telecom types.   I recently had a chance to meet with Walsh and discuss the formation of NextPoint with him. Generally the “money people” are shielded from the communications and technology media as there are generally more technical people who are better at communicating with the “trade” media.

FCC Upholds Metro Competition

December 6, 2007

At yesterday’s VPF meeting a number of people had trouble believing that Verizon opening its network is an authentic move to help consumers. This is partly because the company while on the one hand was opening was on the other, petitioning the FCC to decrease deregulation -- meaning they would be able to effectively block competition in major metropolitan areas.   If accepted, the petition would have subjected 34 million Americans in broad areas surrounding Boston, Providence, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Virginia Beach to fewer choices and higher prices for telecommunications services, according to COMPTEL (News - Alert) CEO Jerry James.   But then again, the two news items are not really related. Although there is a lack of details regarding what Verizon means when it says it is opening its network, the move is for the company’s own benefit. In the end, companies do what is best for their own interests and subsequently we need to applaud Chairman Martin and the FCC for upholding the best interests of consumers and businesses by ensuring adequate competition.   See also:  

Certified WiFi Telephony

December 4, 2007

Good news for those vendors looking for 3rd-party certification of their WiFi solutions as well as companies and consumers looking for the authentic “WiFi telephony” seal so glaringly absent from the marketplace today.   Russell Shaw’s blog discusses how the WiFi Alliance has established a Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice Personal Initiative and discusses how you can get involved.   Why would such a seal make sense you ask? Well, not only does WiFi telephony have all the inherent challenges associated with packetized voice such as having to deal with bandwidth issues, latency and jitter… It has to deal with wireless issues as well. Examples include seamless hand-off of calls between base stations and eventually seamless hand-offs between base stations and cellular, WiMax and who knows what other sorts of wireless standards.   This new initiative should be very good for the WiFi telephony market.

NextPoint is Born

December 4, 2007

TMCnet’s Greg Galitzine announced the rumor on October 19th that NexTone and Reef Point were to merge. Today the news becomes real as the companies are combining to create NextPoint. Here are some quick facts and quotes according to the companies:  
  • Combined Companies to Deliver First Integrated Border Gateway, in Addition to Full Suite of Products Under the new NextPoint Name
  • Woody Ritchey Named CEO; David Walsh Named Chairman
  • JP Morgan Chase’s One Equity Partners Leads $20 Million Investment Round To Address Accelerating Market Demand
  “The integration of session border controllers for both fixed and mobile networks with a security gateway enabled by the merger of Reef Point and NexTone will create a powerful product family for next generation networks,” said Malcolm Wardlaw, Director, Converged Services, Intelligence and Applications, BT. “The IBG has the potential to simplify network design as well as reduce the total cost of ownership in a converged world, supporting the needs of our customers in an all-IP world.”   “The increasing demand for secured IP-based mobility services in a multi-access environment is creating a need for a new category of equipment called the multi-access convergence gateways that provides intelligent interaction with subscribers, services, and transport mechanisms,” said Stéphane Téral, Principal Analyst, Service Provider VoIP, IMS & FMC, Infonetics Research.

Podcast Interview: Oswin Eleanora, Acision

December 3, 2007

In my travels, one of the more knowledgeable players I have run across in the space of telecom – and especially wireless communications is Oswin Eleonora (Oz) the Senior VP Sales and Marketing North America for Acision. You may recall I wrote about Oz and Acision back in July of this year.   I had a chance to pick his brain again regarding Verizon’s open network announcement, the iPhone, the future of wireless, the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), Android, CDMA, GSM and more.   How will service providers differentiate themselves in the upcoming years as networks become more commoditized? Oz has the answer.

Open Communications is the Future

December 3, 2007

If there is one thing Avaya is doing exceedingly well it is courting developers. Out of all the PBX vendors, Avaya has decided they will be the leader in this space. Cisco and Inter-Tel (now Mitel U.S.) have also done an admirable job but no one has matched the six thousand plus members in the Avaya DevConnect program.   Why is this important you ask? In the computer industry the size of the developer program is what determined the success of a vendor.

Consumer Gadgets Eclipse Business Phones

December 1, 2007

The maddening division between consumer and business mobile devices continues to grow and as the trend picks up steam it is apparent consumers are the winners and businesspeople suffer. This is not to say the problem isn’t in some ways necessary.   Case in point was the amount of time it took for Research in Motion to put cameras on their Blackberrys. Many corporate customers actually didn’t want cameras on phones it purchased and this is the reason many of these e-mail workhorses seemed so featureless for so long.   This weekend however it really hit me. Consumers are getting unbelievable products and businesspeople are left wondering why our devices are so boring and devoid of features.

XV6800: Why Verizon Wireless Opened Up

November 30, 2007

There could not be a happier person on the face of the earth than I regarding Verizon Wireless opening up its network. And while I thought I pegged some of the reasons for Verizon making this decision in a recent blog post, the actual reason is probably a great deal simpler.   My take? The XV6800 handset.   You see, the XV6700 handset while rife with problems such as slowdowns and freezes was a great product for its time. The comfortable mobile keyboard, the widescreen 320x240 view and the Microsoft Office compatible applications made this device a winner.

Google to Bid on 700 MHz Spectrum

November 30, 2007

While it is not really a surprise at this point, Google will be bidding on the 700 MHz spectrum auction and if the company wins, it will likely change the business model of many other service providers. The reason is simple. At least one service provider has expressed interest in leveraging their connections as a competitive weapon/advantage and more specifically as a way to exact a toll from Google!   As you may remember I referred to this situation in an article titled SBC Goes Trick-or-Treating which took an excerpt from a BusinessWeek article referring to an interview with SBC CEO Ed Whitacre*:

  The question posed was:   How concerned are you about Internet upstarts like Google, MSN, Vonage, and others?   And the answer was as follows:   How do you think they're going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe.

The Second Sprint Merger That Wasn’t

November 30, 2007

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