Voice-Mail Provider Pitches Carriers

Indianapolis EGIX, a service provider offering end-users network-based voice and fax mail, is now outsourcing its service to other carriers and promising integrated e-mail as well.

Formerly known as Voice-Net, the company changed its name in June, and last month announced a turnkey outsourced unified-messaging package. The principal targets for eGIX are competitive local exchange carriers, incumbent telephone companies and wireless carriers.

As Voice-Net, the company offered voice mailboxes directly to users in several markets. The firm also sold outsourced voice mail to several large carriers, including Global Crossing Ltd.'s local-exchange carrier unit, previously known as Frontier Communications.

Now eGIX is building a unified-messaging service, using a Microsoft Exchange 2000 platform in its network, which provides access for POP3 and IMAP4. The service itself will be accessible by almost any Web browser or Outlook Express.

Yet eGIX says it's retaining its license to act as a carrier. The company currently holds carrier licenses in California, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York and Virginia, with one pending in Washington, D.C.

Even though eGIX could compete with some of its own customers, company officials say emerging service providers can benefit from eGIX's existing network of ATM switches and inventory of telephone numbers available in numerous markets. That could help some new service providers in California, for example, who have reported trouble getting the phone numbers they need.

Federal and state telecom regulators are still in the process of implementing an improved number-allocation system that will be supported by switch software from Telcordia and others (Telcordia preps software to stretch area codes).

But eGIX will have to compete with pure platform vendors who are not themselves retail carriers selling to end users, most notably Lucent's Octel Network Services division, which also is targeting emerging service providers with a unified messaging offer called AnyMedia Messaging.

Another source of competition is Comverse Network Systems of New YorkLast month, Comverse signed an agreement with Sun to its carrier-network-based unified messaging systems on Sun's Netra 1400 servers.

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