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VeriSign Releases speedSUITE for GSM Networks

Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign and its telecommunications division went to market Monday with speedSUITE, a billing and customer care system for wireless carriers transitioning to GSM networks.

Global System for Mobile Communications, more popularly knows as GSM, is the leading digital cellular system in Europe and Asia, and while North American carriers have tended toward CDMA and PCS networks, GSM networks have begun a steady climb in popularity among a broader range of wireless carriers.

VeriSign Telecommunication Services is an extension of VeriSign's broad Web service offerings that gave root in 2001 after VeriSign acquired 20-year telecommunications veteran Illuminet Holdings, a provider of a broad range of network and database systems, and HO Systems out of Georgia, a billing and customer care provider for the wireless industry.

A primary motivator in VeriSign's acquisition of Illuminet, said VeriSign spokesperson Penny Thomas, a former Illuminet employee, was that Illuminet came to the table with Dallas-based National Telemanagement Corp (NTC), a pre-pay service for wireless carriers.

Illuminet also had BellSouth International Wireless Services under its wingspan, giving it, and eventually VeriSign, access to one of the largest signaling SS7 networks in North America not affiliated with a carrier.

VeriSign ended up with a complete range of wireless telecommunications services for converged and next-generation mobile carriers in North America, Latin America, and a handful of carriers in Asia and the Middle East.

The new version of speedSUITE, which is only for carriers using GSM or GSM overlay networks, is intended to maximize return on investment for newly transitioned GSM carriers as well as enhance VeriSign's suite of GSM solutions as market demand increases, the company said.

According to Thomas, VeriSign already had speedSUITE in place for carriers using CDMA and PCS networks, but has now adapted the service so it can work for GSM carriers as those numbers increase throughout North America and other countries.

VeriSign's end-to-end suite of services for GSM carriers is also expected to open up international markets.

"Everything we have traditionally done, we can now do for GSM carriers," said Thomas.

VeriSign Telecommunication Services provide roaming, clearing, SS7 network connectivity, SMS interoperability services, calling name storage, number portability, prepaid and advance pay solutions, and toll free databases for wireline, wireless, and next-generation carriers.