Taqua Success

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Taqua Success

The resurgence being seen in the IP communications space has changed or refocused the business models of countless companies. VoIP and video over IP growth seem unabated and there has been record M&A activity in the market as of late. Avaya being purchased by private equity for a premium and Mitel acquiring (latest news) Inter-Tel are just a few examples of companies investing in the growth of enterprise IP communications.
 
The service provider market too is growing nicely. Smaller carriers are all looking for ways to generate more revenue from their customers and many of these carriers are looking for solutions which afford them maximal flexibility while remaining cost-effective.
 
Enter Taqua, a softswitch manufacturer who flew high in the glory days of VoIP which I define as roughly 1998-2000. The company was acquired by Tekelec years back and recently spun out to become part of GENBAND. After a few months, Taqua was spun back out of GENBAND and once again became an independent company.
 
I had a chance to speak with Frederick Reynolds the VP of Marketing and Scott Weidenfeller the CMO of Taqua about how the first few weeks of renewed independence have been at the company.
 
Believe it or not within this short time, Taqua has already sold some softswitches. In fact Tel West Network Services Corp (news) a nine-year-old CLEC just purchased three additional Tekelec 7000 Switching Systems (formerly T7000 under Tekelec) to support the company’s network expansion in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, TX.
 
According to Jeff Swickard, President of Tel West Communications, “When we made our decision to go to a facilities-based operation in 2003, we needed a flexible next-generation switch to help establish our core service offering. We chose the T7000 from Taqua because its versatility allowed us to provide a host of innovative service offerings. Four years later, we decided to replace legacy switches with proven network generation technology from Taqua. Our decision to purchase three additional T7000s was an easy decision because of the significant operating cost reductions and the opportunity to offer additional services to support our growing customer base.”
 
When speaking with the Taqua team they tell me their focus is on the smaller IOCs and CLECs. The tier 2-3 vendors like to work with smaller vendors they tell me. They see this refocusing as Taqua coming back to its roots.
 
Taqua says they have a slew of new and expansion orders. One of the reasons they think the company is doing so well is their system-on-a-card architecture which support IP, T1, DS3 or basically whatever you need. Frederick says the cards auto-discover and do load sharing seamlessly. In addition, they were pretty proud of the low failure rate of their cards. Five cards were returned last year– not all had failed but this is out of 3,000 cards on the market.
 
The Taqua team told me the focus at Tekelec was more on signaling, LNP and IMS and the Taqua product line didn’t get the as much attention as it could. What Tekelec did do very well I am told is test and scale the T7000 to ensure it was as robust and as reliable as possible.
 
Taqua says they are beginning to take market share from MetaSwitch and CopperCom. They feel their solution is best for the markets they serve as they have a true Class 5 replacement-on-a-card as opposed to a softswitch gateway distributed architecture. In other words the Taqua 7000 is more like the Nortel DMS-10 and Siemens DCOs typical rural carriers and CLECs are familiar with. The competition on the other hand has separate softswitches, gateways and signaling gateways making it difficult to diagnose problems which may arise. In addition there is an implicit increase in reliability with a single piece of equipment as opposed to a number of disparate solutions connected to one-another.
 
The Taqua team explained the competition has been focusing on selling solutions which are adjunct to an existing class 5 switch and this doesn’t solve the problem if your legacy switch is going away. This is an important issue to service providers who are concerned about operational costs and right-to-use fees associated with their current big iron switches.
 
One last point is, according to the marketing duo, Taqua focuses on TDM and IP while the competition focuses on one or the other.
 
The complete Taqua product line consists of the Taqua 7000 Switching System, the TIC which is the T1 Interface card, the BIC or Broadband Interface Card, the PIC or Packet Interface Card and finally the LTC or Line Trunk Card.
 
Taqua’s goal is simple. Focus on the smaller CLEC and IOC and replace legacy switches at a rapid clip. Whether they can take major market share away from the other players in the space remains to be seen but carriers I have been speaking with lately tell me they like Taqua’s solutions and now that the company is independent they are happy to look seriously at their offerings. The question now is how fast can Taqua run with the ball and what will be the response from the other players in the space.


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