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As part of an effort to invest in future phone networks, Intel is announcing that it has invested $3 million in Aicent.

San Jose, Calif.-based Aicent has built one of the world’s largest multimedia messaging exchanges for cell-phone carriers so that consumers can get their messages wherever they roam. It does so by building a bridge between the Internet and mobile phone networks so that messages can be forwarded efficiently and at lowest cost.

The Intel Capital money will be used to ensure that Aicent’s messaging technology works with networks built around WiMax, a high-speed wireless networking technology with a longer range than WiFi. Aicent expects to roll out its WiMax technology in the second half of 2009. The company is also working on competing technologies such as LTE (or Long Term Evolution). Intel is clearly on a WiMax tear, investing in other WiMax-related companies such as BridgeWave and Clearwire-Sprint. (Intel’s share of the latter investment was $1 billion).

The company was founded by Lynn Liu, chief executive, and David Zhang, chief technology officer, in 2000. The company serves more than a billion mobile subscribers on 100 mobile networks today. The company has 130 employees.

Aicent raised $24 million in three previous rounds. Past investors include Warburg Pincus, iGlobe Partners and Qualcomm Ventures. The company plans to use the money to expand overseas sales. Competitors include Syniverse and Verisign.

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