Grass Is Greener In The Other Market: Metaswitch and Broadsoft

Two of my favorite companies, BroadSoft and Metaswitch, are showing that they’re interested in the other guy’s turf.

At the recent Metaswitch Forum in New Orleans, the talk was about the “NFV” standard for managing telecom software, and about Business Services. Metaswitch’s customer base — independent telcos — has long been strong in TDM voice (PRI, CAS T1) residential (analog service via GR-303 or MGCP), and business voice service (analog lines with all the features). Metaswitch has long had a strong voicemail product as well, in the “Enhanced Application Server” (EAS) brand.

And over the past five years, the EAS has grown as a strong Hosted PBX platform. With the combination of Metaswitch Perimeta SBC, all you’d need to sell hosted PBX services is the Metaswitch core, the Metaswitch EAS, your core IP routing/switching/firewall gear (think Cisco) and Customer Premise Equipment (think Adtran, Polycom). That’s a fairly short grocery list to build a telco.

As of late, Metaswitch is really encouraging their customers to sell the Hosted PBX services. It’s great to see the vigor because BroadSoft needs the competition. After Sylantro was shutdown and the other app server vendors mostly dried up, BroadWorks was left as the only robust Hosted PBX platform available to operators; Metaswitch is answering that challenge.

Metaswitch’s customer base is largely connected via SS7 and SIP to the PSTN — the rest of the world. As such, Metaswitch has a great deal of expertise handling SS7 — especially the protocols involved in wireline telephony.

BroadSoft has never cared about SS7; they knew you’d need an SS7 gateway to connect as a CLEC to your local access and LD tandems, but they didn’t want to be that gateway. BroadWorks spoke SIP — and not much else.

That is, until recently. In the past couple of years, BroadSoft had been gradually announcing features to support interworking with SS7 networks — especially mobile networks, obviously to support VoLTE.

BroadSoft’s interest in SS7 capability makes a lot of sense. I often wonder on which iPhone the default phone app will cease to be Circuit Switched and become VoIP. And, of course, BroadSoft wants that iPhone SIP REGISTER to route to a BroadWorks Application Server. (Or XS.)

So we see BroadSoft eyeing Metaswitch’s technical capabilities in SS7, and Metaswitch interested in BroadSoft’s background in Hosted PBX.