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SprintExpands Local Services

Posted: 09/1997

Business News
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Sprint
Expands Local Services

Phoenix Network-US ONE Merger Called Off
Summa Four, Dialogic Develop Switching Platform
Tempus
Incorporates IVR Software

Centigram
Licenses TruVoice

Qwest
Signs Facility Agreement

SNET Picks
Lucent

Genesis, RFC Reach Financing Agreement
Ernst & Young Select Sprint, Global One
Highland Lakes Now Supports Interfax
Teltrust To Provide Services To Cox
Lucent
To Purchase Octel

PhoneTel,
CCI Consider Merger

NIBI
Announces Consolidation

Sprint
Expands Local Services

KANSAS CITY, Mo.Sprint’s local service
customers in the 19 states served by the company’s local
telecommunications division (LTD) will soon be able to purchase
the full range of Sprint’s long distance, wireless, Internet and
local products with one telephone call. Previously, the local
companies sold only local service products.

Sprint’s LTD announced it will centralize its organization
around three market segments business markets, consumer and small
business markets and carrier markets. Although most employees
will remain at their current work locations, the division’s four
regional headquarters will be replaced by a national
organizational structure based in Kansas City. Michael Fuller,
president and CEO of Sprint’s LTD, assured employees and local
officials in the regional headquarters and other communities the
division services that this realignment in no way affects
Sprint’s commitment to those areas.

The Fat Lady Sings
Phoenix
Network-US ONE Merger Called Off

GOLDEN, Colo.–In recent months, numerous press
releases scheduled conferences to announce what seemed a done
deal: Phoenix Network One Inc. was going to expand its
network by bringing in US ONE Communications Corp., an
energetic, competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC). That
imploded suddenly one day last spring in the middle of deploying
a nationwide network using state-of-the-art Lucent switches that
would have positioned the youthful CLEC as a carrier’s carrier.
Almost as soon as a release trumpeting the press conference to
announce the merger was sent, another would arrive announcing yet
another delay. Finally, someone (with money) realized it just
wasn’t a good deal, and the whole thing was called off. Since May
1996, Phoenix has acquired 10 companies or customer
bases.Phoenix, it appeared, had found ideal positioning for
switched resale and entry into both local and long distance
services. At one point during merger negotiations, Phoenix
announced discussions with several other long distance carriers
interested in joining the merger. For what seemed at first blush
a marriage made in heaven, this relationship was troubled from
the start. US ONE was heavily indebted. In the middle of merger
negotiations, US ONE’s founder, CEO and Chair James H. Sturges
stated at a press conference that US ONE was "engaged in
conversations" with Lucent to restructure US ONE’s payables
and stabilize their relationship, and it was considering filing
Chapter 11 bankruptcy for protection to reorganize. Lucent had
previously filed a petition against US ONE for involuntary
bankruptcy under Chapter 7. Moreover, Phoenix has been in need of
a little infusion itself. So, financing of the merger was not
optional. That’s where Resurgens Capital Group Inc. entered.
Resurgens, a private company, was formed to pursue telecom
investment opportunities. It agreed to arrange interim financing
to meet the working capital requirements the parties had ($35
million, according to Phoenix) prior to closing in exchange for a
cut of the action. John Phillips, former president and CEO of
Metromedia International Group Inc. was to become chair and CEO
of the combined threesome. The answer to a prayer? So it seemed.
Phoenix recently reported that Resurgens Capital was notified by
its investment bankers that the merged companies would be
unlikely to raise sufficient financing in either the public
equity or debt market to finance the contemplated transaction.
"We felt that this merger presented Phoenix Network with an
excellent opportunity to accelerate our network and acquisition
strategy," Phoenix’s President and CEO Wallace Hammond said.
"We are obviously disappointed that the necessary financing
could not be arranged and that the merger discussions had to be
discontinued, but we are not disheartened." As yet, it is
difficult to say where US ONE’s future lies. But, Phoenix Network
makes one thing clear: "These discussions with Phillips and
US ONE have not precluded us from considering alternative
opportunities within our industry."

Summa
Four, Dialogic Develop Switching Platform

MANCHESTER, N.H.–Summa Four Inc., a provider of open,
programmable switching platforms, intends to work with Dialogic
Corp. on co-development and co-marketing initiatives. The
relationship, which establishes Project Sigma, is centered on the
development of a telco-capable, programmable switching platform
based on industry standard hardware and software. As a
fully-integrated, intelligent switching platform, this technology
will enable telecommunications service providers to significantly
reduce the cost and time-to-market of delivering advanced
services. To facilitate Project Sigma, Summa Four has also
entered into a joint development agreement with Junction Inc. to
form a Summa Four majority-owned joint venture. Junction is a
Cupertino, Calif.-based development company whose principals have
experience in the design and development of telephony solutions.
The joint venture will work closely with Summa Four and Dialogic
engineers to deliver a standards-based programmable switching
platform capable of handling the demands of telecommunications
service providers worldwide. Summa Four, Dialogic and Junction
will participate to integrate CT Media, Dialogic’s implementation
of the S.100 application programming interface (API), with ICS,
Summa Four’s telco-capable call model. The integration will
produce an S.100-compliant API with centralized resource
management structure that is fault-tolerant and highly
distributed. In this way, the applications developer views a
unified platform, rather than a collection of separately
controlled components. The goal of the partnership is to simplify
development, shorten service delivery time and reduce overall
development and support costs.

Tempus
Incorporates IVR Software

ATLANTA–Tempus Software Inc. and Syntellect Inc.
are teaming up to offer Encompass RESPONSE, a patient scheduling
system that automatically confirms, cancels and reschedules
appointments by phone. Tempus is incorporating Syntellect’s
VocalPoint interactive voice response (IVR) platform into its
Encompass scheduling system. The enterprise-wide scheduling
system coordinates resources, identifies scheduling conflicts,
schedules across multiple facilities and eliminates patient
waiting time. Syntellect’s IVR platform gives Encompass RESPONSE
the ability to automatically place a call to patients prior to
appointments. When patients receive the call, they have the
option of responding verbally or with the touch-tone keys on
their phone. The IVR platform communicates the response back to
the scheduling system, automatically updates the patient’s
itinerary and notifies the correct department of changes.
Encompass RESPONSE combined with VocalPoint IVR is targeted for
release during the third quarter of 1997 and will be available
from both Syntellect and Tempus. Future product enhancements will
give patients automatic telephone access to appointment
itineraries, medical records RESPONSE will ultimately allow
patients to schedule appointments through the IVR system using
speech recognition technology.

Centigram
Licenses TruVoice

SAN JOSE, Calif.–Centigram Communications Corp. has
licensed its TruVoice text-to-speech (TTS) software to Parlance
Corp. for use in its NameConnector Service. NameConnector
combines speech recognition with computer and telephony
technology to provide a natural interface for corporate telephone
systems. NameConnector makes it easier for callers to reach a
called party because they no longer have to remember an
extension. With NameConnector, callers can dial one access number
and say a name to access a database of 4,500 people. When callers
speak the name of the person they wish to reach, TruVoice’s
natural-sounding technology speaks the recognized name as
confirmation before the call is connected. Centigram’s TruVoice
is a TTS converter which has a patented voice synthesizer and
uses linguistic rules to analyze input text and generate highly
intelligible, natural-sounding speech. Parlance’s NameConnector
is a complete hardware and software solution that operates with a
company’s existing PBX.

Qwest
Signs Facility Agreement

DENVER–Qwest Communications International Inc. has
signed a facility agreement with ICG Communications Inc. for ICG
to use Qwest’s fiber-optic network. ICG will principally connect
its local networks in California, Colorado, Texas and the Ohio
valley. Qwest will provide ICG with dedicated dark fiber in its
cables as already provided in the build-out plan for the Qwest
network, as well as additional broadband capacity by the end of
1998. The Qwest network will enhance ICG’s existing fiber links
in Colorado and California, providing its customers with
high-speed transmission facilities and the necessary back-up to
avoid outages due to fiber cuts.

SNET Picks Lucent

WARREN, N.J.–Southern New England Telephone has
awarded Lucent Technologies a contract to provide and install new
digital switches and related software that will help SNET
complete the implementation of an all-digital network switching
infrastructure in Connecticut by year-end 1999. The contract also
includes a commitment to help SNET convert all of its digital
switches to advanced broadband capabilities beyond the year 2000.
Lucent will be replacing analog 1AESS switches with the next
generation 5ESS digital switches. The 5ESS service, operations
and administrative capabilities are based on AnyMedia Software
Release, which enhances the switch with new long distance,
wireless and Internet services.

Genesis, RFC Reach
Financing Agreement

SAN DIEGO–Genesis Communications International Inc., a
provider of signing of a financing agreement with Receivables
Funding Corp. (RFC) for up to $5 million. The working capital
facility between the two firms will enable Genesis Communications
to meet its aggressive expansion plans without incurring debt or
diluting shareholders’ equity. According to Derek M. Gietzen,
president and CEO of Genesis Communications, RFC’s facility will
enable the company to enhance its service coverage and diversify
its offerings. "We are very pleased to work with a strategic
partner like RFC as we propel our company forward to the next
level of success," he said. "This partnership will
allow us to expand quickly into new geographic areas, open new
sales offices and deploy enabling technologies that help us
deliver superior service to our growing customer base."
Genesis Communications currently serves customers in California,
Texas, Arizona and Illinois. Plans are underway to expand these
coverage areas to include Colorado, New Mexico, Washington and
Oregon. Based in Columbus, Ohio, RFC is a specialty financing
company committed exclusively to the telecommunications industry.

Ernst &
Young Select Sprint, Global One

KANSAS CITY, Mo.–Sprint and Global One announced a
two-year contract, totaling more than $7 million with Ernst &
Young International (EYI) for global data, voice and messaging
services. When EYI began searching for a communications partner
that best met their needs, they looked for a communications
provider who could provide communications solutions that increase
accessibility to resources and facilitate swifter response to
client requests. As a result, EYI chose Sprint and Global One to
provide the following services: Sprint InfoXchange, international
private lines, global frame relay, global X.25, global VPN and
global direct dial.

Highland
Lakes Now Supports Interfax

AUSTIN, Texas–Highland Lakes Software Inc. has
announced it now offers software support for networks and systems
provided by Interfax LLC. Interfax is a worldwide wholesale
provider of fax services and private fax networks, now
operational in four continents. "The flexibility of the
Highland Lakes product, including multilingual and multicurrency
support, is a must for customers around the world," said Ed
Kennedy, co-founder of Interfax. The Communications Accounting
System from Highland Lakes Software supports convergent billing
for traditional long distance, cellular/PCS, local service resale
and a myriad of enhanced service

Teltrust
To Provide Services To Cox

SALT LAKE CITY–Teltrust Inc. has signed a renewable
contract with Cox Communications. The contract covers a variety
of telecommunications services to be provided through Teltrust
Communications Services Inc., a business unit of Teltrust, as
part of Cox’s introduction as a competitive local exchange
carrier. Teltrust will provide Cox with live operator assistance
services, nationwide directory assistance with call completion
and third party verification services, which authenticates local
and long distance carrier changes and reduces the unauthorized
switching of a customer’s service provider.

Lucent To
Purchase Octel

MURRAY HILL, N.J.–Lucent Technologies announced it
will purchase Octel Communications, combining Octel with Lucent’s
messaging unit to create a business worth more than $1 billion in
revenues. "We will be able to immediately address the
growing global demand for the technologies that support products
like voice mail for wireless service providers and telephone
companies and networked messaging systems for large
corporations," said Rich McGinn, president of Lucent. Lucent
noted the acquisition would result in a one-time, non-cash charge
against its earnings. The amount of the charge cannot be
determined at this time, but Lucent expects it will have a
significant effect on net earnings for the fourth fiscal quarter
of this year.

PhoneTel,
CCI Consider Merger

CLEVELAND–PhoneTel Technologies Inc. and Communications
Central Inc.
(CCI) jointly announced they are evaluating the
impact on their proposed merger against a recent decision of a
federal appellate court. That decision remanded to the Federal
Communications Commission an FCC ruling concerning the
calculation of dial-around compensation payable to payphone
providers such as PhoneTel and CCI. The parties are engaged in
discussions concerning a possible restructuring of such
transactions in light of the ruling.

NIBI
Announces Consolidation

MANKATO, Minn.–National Independent Billing Inc.
(NIBI) has announced it is consolidating all its operations under
a single name. The consolidation will coincide with a move to a
new location in Mankato. NIBI’s affiliate, Computoservice Inc.,
has been a provider of billing software and services for the
company. Due to industry expansion, the decision was made to
offer all products and services under NIBI. The company will also
be relocating to a newly renovated building in downtown Mankato,
positioning it next to the data center and corporate
headquarters.


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