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Motorola speaks up with Convergent

By integrating Covergent Networks' software, Motorola will be able to offer several enhanced voice features in its Internet voice gear for cable operators.

    Motorola invested an undisclosed sum in Convergent Networks Monday and will integrate the company's software-based switching technology in its cable-phone equipment.

    A major communications equipment manufacturer, Motorola plans to incorporate Convergent's ICServiceWorks software-based switching technology, or "softswitch," into its Internet voice gear for cable operators. Convergent acquired Technology Control Services (TCS) and its softswitch technology last summer.

    The technology is expected to allow Motorola to offer several enhanced voice features on its voice-over Internet hardware, rounding out the capabilities of Motorola's products.

    For Convergent, the deal represents a significant customer, apparent validation of its technology and a big-name financial backer ahead of the company's proposed initial public stock offering. Convergent filed for an IPO in late September.

    Motorola plans to sell its Net-based voice gear to major cable companies such as AT&T, Comcast, Charter Communications and others. These cable operators are upgrading their networks to handle voice communications and plan to compete with the Baby Bells for local voice customers. Internet-based technology and softswitches in theory provide a lower cost of operation and additional advanced features, a benefit for the cable companies and their consumer customers.