Tiscali to be one of the First Software Telcos

The traditional telco is dead – the case for moving to COTS technology is just too compelling. This is a theme I have been espousing for over a year. My readers further know companies like Metaswitch Networks have also been making the case as to why carriers need to start evaluating their software options immediately.

You also know about the cost savings associated with moving to standard servers – power and maintenance savings are a few additional benefits. You also know in order to compete with OTT services you need to have similar cost models.

There isn’t much more to it. Sure, carriers can settle for being dumb pipes but becoming a commoditized service is not necessarily a winning future strategy.


Having said that, Tiscali has just announced they have picked the Metaswitch Clearwater Core (see architechture diagram above) and Perimeta SBC to power their Indoona App. The applications is like a blend of social networks like Instagram and Facebook with some Facetime Audio thrown in (see pictures below). It allows 100 minutes per month of free calling to much of the developed world’s landlines and after that, rates start at 0.8 eurocents per minute for landlines and cell phones. Calls to Tiscali landlines and multimedia messaging are both free.


The Web-services-oriented design inherent to Clearwater Core makes it ideal for instantiation within NFV environments as a virtualized network function (VNF) according to the companies. The deployment also includes MetaView Service Assurance Servers for always-on diagnostics, including internal policy auditing as well as network protocol tracing.


“A network functions virtualization infrastructure (NFVI) is the perfect environment in which to construct, test, deploy and scale innovative network functions. We’re pleased that Tiscali chose Metaswitch’s NFV expertise to help it grow Indoona while providing telco-grade reliability,” says Dave Reekie, general manager of Metaswitch’s open source and security/interconnect business units. “We’re confident that as the Indoona service continues to scale and evolve and become more popular with consumers, Metaswitch will be right there helping Tiscali promote the rapid innovation of new services.”

“Our customer demand is growing rapidly and Metaswitch is helping us meet the needs of our customers quickly and easily,” says Tiscali CTO Andrea Podda. “Metaswitch’s Clearwater and Perimeta products are helping Tiscali achieve its goal of operating a modern, intelligent future-proof network in Italy, in turn delivering high-quality services to our customers.”


The future of the telco will rely less on hardware as SDN and virtualized servers play a larger role; First in the edges and eventually in the network core. Carriers who are concerned about WhatsApp, Facebook and a plethora of other competitors should be exploring their options quickly. I commend Tiscali for being innovative not only on the client-side with an app but in the network with a software-based strategy.

Check out details and photos of my trip to Tiscali International Network (now sold to a different company, Inteliquent) from June of 2009 in Sardinia, Italy

To learn more about becoming a software telco be sure to come to the second Software Telco Congress, August 12-12 2014 in Las Vegas.

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