China United Telecommunications, the No. 2 carrier in China, has agreed to buy about $40 million in voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) equipment from Cisco Systems. The contract is part of an expansion of China Unicom's Internet-based phone network. The network will serve 321 cities in 30 provinces, making it the world's largest.
Cisco will deliver a variety of backbone routers and other hardware to China Unicom, including its VoIP gateway products, which connect traditional phone networks with the Internet. Net-based voice is one segment in which Cisco hopes to expand beyond its core heavy-duty network router business, which has seen encroachment by competitors.