Wind, Ericsson sign Internet telephony pact

The Italian telecommunications company Wind SpA and Sweden's Ericsson have announced a strategic agreement for four projects, including one for Internet telephony.

One new service, GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications) on the 'Net, is designed to let business customers make calls over the Internet via any local network, and to access the Internet via PCs as well as from fixed mobile phones, according to the companies. By adopting this technology, a business can create a private telephone network, becoming a kind of company operator, according to Ericsson and Wind.

"It's an Internet telephony project and the company operators could in theory sell on traffic to third parties," said Ericsson spokesman Marino Marin. "This project makes such an activity technically possible, although in Italy, where there are already 70 fixed line telephony operators, it may not be economically viable," he said.

The first experimental call using the GSM on the 'Net system was made last July and commercial services using the system are due to be rolled out by Wind in the first half of next year.

The two companies also agreed to adopt Ericsson's Jambala platform as a basis for Wind's services to business clients. Jambala unites the characteristics of products developed for the telecommunications world, such as reliability and modularity, with those of products developed for information technology: open standards, flexibility and competitive prices, according to a joint statement from Ericsson and Wind. Jambala-based services is expected to be offered in the market by the end of next year.

The other projects involve UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service) technology; third-generation mobile phone technology; and GPRS (General Packet Radio System). The projects will exploit WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) applications and services, and will enable users to receive incoming calls while navigating on Internet.

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