Acme Packet expands to take on Canadian VoIP market

An American provider that specializes in niche network equipment has opened a Canadian office to take advantage of the expanding VoIP market.

Burlington, Mass.-based Acme Packet Inc. provides session border control solutions, which are designed to manage session traffic at the signaling, call control and packet layers as they cross borders between IP networks or segments of individual networks.

The company has several clients and partners in Canada and has decided the time is right to open a sales and service office in Ottawa.

“Acme has been doing business in Canada with a number of emerging and incumbent service providers, but until now there has not been a local presence in Canada in terms of sales or support or anything else,” said Rob Saloman, the newly appointed general manager of Acme Packet Canada.

Prior to joining Acme, Saloman worked with several Canadian network equipment providers, including Nortel Networks, Mitel, Newbridge Networks and Cambrian Systems. His most recent position was as vice-president of sales and marketing at Nakina Systems.

“The business has reached a point where Acme Packet felt it was time to establish a presence in Canada to service (Canadian) customers and grow the business,” said Saloman. “The business is in its early stages. We expect there to be a substantial market in Canada.”

Acme Packet is partnered with Nortel, said Saloman. It also sells equipment to Canadian service providers, but Saloman said he was unable to name any of them. Internationally, Acme works has about 270 customers, he said, including Primus Telecom in Australia, Cablecom in Switzerland and Fast Web in Italy.

“There were a number of (Canadian) customers already purchasing the product and being serviced from the U.S. from our Burlington headquarters. Based on discussions with those customers about future plans, we certainly feel that the growth potential is there and warranted opening up at least a sales and support office here in Canada,” he said.

But Acme Packet isn’t the first SBC company to open a Canadian office, noted Jon Arnold, an independent telecommunications analyst. Acme competitor Nextone Communications, for example, has an office in Toronto.

Arnold said there’s currently “only a handful of people” Acme can sell its products to in Canada. However, SBC is a growing market, especially in Ottawa where Acme has set up shop. The list of potential clients for Acme could grow if it is able to sell SBC products to Canadian enterprises for their own internal networks, said Arnold.

The continued growth of the VoIP market here could provide new customers for Acme Packet, said Saloman, who added that he will begin to add sales and support staff to the Ottawa office as business grows. Ottawa has a deep pool of telco talent to hire from, he said, and is in reasonable proximity to other major centres like Montreal and Toronto, making customer visits possible. “I don’t think you can replace face-to-face contact,” he said.

Last month, Acme Packet filed a notice with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with the intention of issuing an IPO and taking the company public.


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