Top Phone Firm Invests in VoIP Venture

AT&T Strategic Ventures Tuesday invested
$10 million in Nuera Communications in
order to accelerate its ability to deliver packetized voice services worldwide.

Nuera Communications is a leading provider of voice over Internet protocol
solutions. The company’s Open, Reliable Communications Architecture enables
seamless voice traffic transport between public switched telephone networks
and packet or IP-based networks.

AT&T’s investment accounted for more than 35 percent of
Nuera’s recently completed $28.5 million financing round.

Additionally, AT&T
and AT&T Wireless entered into strategic alliances with the VoIP solutions provider
to guarantee ongoing technical exchanges between the AT&T business
divisions and Nuera.

Glenn Edens, AT&T Strategic Ventures president, said the investment in
Nuera reflects AT&T’s commitment to dominate the market in high-speed
access for both voice and data.

“AT&T Strategic Ventures has looked carefully at investment opportunities
and believes Nuera is a leader in the VoIP market,” Edens said. “We look
forward to fostering a long-term relationship between AT&T and Nuera.”

Bill Ingram, Nuera chief executive officer, said VoIP is the next big
revenue stream that broadband carriers need to develop in order to compete.

“Our mission is to deliver voice over IP via cable and fixed wireless
infrastructures to help carriers implement revenue-generating services,”
Ingram said. “Strategic relationships with carriers like AT&T are what set
companies apart in today’s competitive landscape.”

Nuera’s carrier-class ORCA solutions is designed to open new markets within
the broadband industry for AT&T. Nuera is also working on the technology
that would enable AT&T to deliver telephone-quality voice services over
cable networks for residential and business customers.

Frost & Sullivan forecasts that rampant
investment in IP-based telephony technology is set to transform the IP
services marketplace.

According to the independent research firm, VoIP technology will open new
dimensions in international calling and lower calling costs, especially in
remote geographical regions with relatively low teledensity.

Donald Tait, Frost & Sullivan research analyst, said that VoIP service
packages could be priced at a level where they are attractive to customers
and still generate robust margins.

“This will also enable businesses to conduct international transactions
more effectively and cheaply, consequently introducing competition and
increased commerce to their markets,” Tait said.

Frost & Sullivan forecasts that the overall growth in IP services is set to
soar to new heights in the wake of the exploding number of Internet service
providers and the slew of telcos utilizing IP telephony as a means to avoid
arbitrage charges.

Additionally, the research firm contends that the flexibility and
scalability of IP networks are key factors, which will influence demand for
such services to dramatically increase. Running voice over cable, DSL and
wireless that connect to the PSTN at either end of the call enables service
providers to undercut PSTN rates significantly, creating a market driven
initially by price competition.

IP technology is at the heart of converging voice and data layers of
services to produce personalized communications over Web servers and mobile
phones by working together with more traditional PSTN systems.

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