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ITXC Taps Cisco for VoIP Project

Cisco Systems Thursday said it has been asked by wholesale Internet telephony carrier ITXC to help create a massive Voice over IP (VoIP) Network spanning more than 175 countries.

The project, slated to begin this year, will use Cisco's VIA products including its AS5000 Universal Gateway and PGW 2200 Softswitch Voice Over IP (VoIP) as the basis for the next generation system. The inter-carrier voice network allows affiliated phone companies, portals, and ISPs to bypass traditional phone networks and provide voice and data communications.

The project is no small feat considering ITXC's legacy switches and older equipment from other vendors currently part of the existing network footprint are being taken out of service and replaced with equipment from Cisco.

The two companies are hardly strangers. San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco sells equipment to carriers worldwide and ITXC sells international call completion to these same carriers. Princeton, N.J.-based ITXC interfaces with Cisco equipment and Cisco-interoperable equipment, including that from VocalTec and others. ITXC often installs its own Cisco equipment at carrier locations.

Industry analyst group TeleGeography estimates that ITXC now accounts for 10 percent of international phone-to-phone calling, up from just 6 percent a year ago.

Neither company has put a price tag on the job, but a Cisco spokesperson told ITXC would be saving a bundle based on the size of the project.

"More and more often carriers use ITXC for all or part of their traffic," ITXC chairman and CEO Tom Evslin said in a statement. "Carriers have found that simplifying their networks by relying on ITXC has resulted in lower cost of ownership and higher reliability than managing a multitude of vendors in a complex routing table. Similarly, ITXC has found that relying on Cisco for most of its equipment needs results in lower costs and higher reliability as well as multi-vendor interoperability."

ITXC currently uses SNARCs (on-premises equipment) to give carriers direct access to its network. In 2002, the company acquired Nexcom Telecommunications, a telecom provider with operations in Asia, Europe, and the Americas to help expand its empire.

As part of the sweetheart deal, ITXC has been accepted to the Cisco Powered Network program for their IP telephony services.

The companies said they are collaborating in marketing and sales activities for existing and new products and services aimed at the carrier segment.