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Lucent to unveil new communications chip

The networking equipment giant will introduce a new communications intended to lower the cost of providing phones for Internet-based voice service.

Lucent Technologies will introduce a new communications chip later today aimed at lowering the cost of providing phones for Internet-based voice service.

The company plans to unveil a new single-chip technology for Internet-based phones that could reduce the cost of building handsets by 30 percent, according to a Lucent spokesman. The chip will be rolled out at this week's Networld+Interop industry trade show.

The nascent niche is a potentially lucrative one, with various players eyeing the tools that businesses can use to build a telephone system based on Internet protocol (IP), the transmissions medium of the Net. Such systems promise lower costs for users, since an IP-based network can transmit voice traffic at lower price rates, according to industry observers.

Data giant Cisco Systems has added IP-based phone technology to its stable of products, following an acquisition last year.

Lucent plans to build a standard two-chip set for IP phones, which will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. Release of the single chip, or application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) version, will be dependent on what features a particular customer wants to specify, the spokesman said.

Lucent said it expects the so-called Phone-on-a-Chip capability to accelerate the market for IP-based phones. Analysts said the single chip could lower the cost of the phones below $150.

The chip technology came out of the company's Bell Labs research arm.