Telecom networking publication Light Reading reports that softswitch vendor Sonus Networks will be BellSouth's softswitch provider when the Atlanta-based regional carrier gears up its residential VoIP service within the next 12 months.
Because softswitches are the nexus for connections between circuit and packet-switched networks, such a partnership would give Sonus a big leg up on arch-competitor Siemens for the four-company U.S. ILEC (Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier) portion of the VoIP biz. Verizon and Qwest have long been Sonus customers, and a three-for-four play might prove hard for SBC to resist.
That's not the only interesting point that Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre makes, however. He speculates that in order to avoid delay-to-market while a Sonus-enabled BellSouth residential VoIP network is built, BellSouth may enter the market by becoming a reseller of a service such as 8x8 Inc.'s Packet 8.
I see this as plausible, but I'm not willing to stop there. The way all this will play out in the long term is that the deep-pocketed incumbent carriers will look seriously at acquring either stakes or outright ownership of some the stronger independent VoIP access providers. Packet 8 is certainly in that number.