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Ericsson Acquisitions Broaden IP Offerings

Swedish telecommunications company LM Ericsson Tuesday made two acquisitions to broaden its Internet telephony and IP network offerings.

The company purchased Torrent Technologies Corp. which supplies high-capacity routers, for $450 million in cash. The acquisition will give Ericsson a new line of equipment to deliver IP traffic, giving it the ability to deliver end-to-end IP and Asynchronous Transfer Mode solutions.

A number of companies around the world use Torrent's Internet routing solutions, including France Telecom and U.S. Internet provider Concentric.

Sven-Christer Nilsson, Ericsson's president and chief executive officer, said the acquisition is part of the company's plan to offer integrated wireless and wireline voice and data networks.

"The acquisition moves Ericsson squarely into the IP playing field and will have a substantial impact on our ability to provide a complete data networking solution," he said.

The deal will add a number of existing router lines to Ericsson's product portfolio in addition to Torrent's newly announced IP9520 aggregation router designed to send IP-based traffic over ATM networks.

Ericsson also acquired TouchWave Inc., a California-based provider of enterprise IP-telephony products, for $46 million in cash.

TouchWave makes a number of products for medium-sized organizations that support Internet Protocol PBX systems, wireless LAN terminals and existing analog telephone equipment.

"The IP-PBX market is driven by the need to reduce costs and consolidate scarce networking resources. The TouchWave products are particularly attractive to Internet service providers who need to add value to their present data networking services," said Haijo Pietersman, executive vice president and chief of Ericsson's business segment enterprise solutions group.

Ericsson plans to use Touchwave's technology and expertise to enhance its IP telephony offerings to create a new line of all-in-one products that support voice, data and video traffic.