Breaking the recent trend of preference of Israeli hi-tech companies exiting with a buyout, broadband solutions provider Allot Communications raised $78 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq Global Market, the Hod Hasharon-based company said Thursday. Allot started trading on Thursday under the symbol "ALLT" and the offering's closing is expected to take effect on November 21. The IPO saw 6.5 million shares issued at $12 per share and the company said it expects to receive net proceeds from the offering of approximately $70.5m. Allot also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an aggregate of 975,000 ordinary shares to cover any over-allotments. In its pre-offering prospectus, the company said it anticipated the shares would be priced between $9 and $11 per share. Founded in 1997, Allot was funded through venture capital investors who continue to be principal shareholders in the company. These include Tamir Fishman Group, Gemini Group, Genesis Partners, Yigal Jacoby, Partech International Group and Jerusalem Venture Partners. The company refused to comment on how much it had raised through the years. Allot said it intends to use the proceeds from the offering for research and development activities, to expand its business development and marketing activities, and for general corporate purposes and working capital. With the offering, Allot became the 76th Israeli company listed on the Nasdaq exchange. This year has seen a record level of hi-tech mergers and acquisitions in Israel and analysts have predicted an increase in this trend over the IPO exiting option. In other fundraising news, start-up company CellMax Systems raised $2m. in a second round of funding led by US private investor group CellMax Vision, with Jacob and Nediva Schwarz, founders of IDS, Inc. and NS Enterprises, Inc, being the principle investors. CellMax, which develops voice identification and verification products, said it will use the funds to increase the penetration of its technology into the contact center market. One of Israel's more established companies, Pelephone, said this week it plans to hire 500 workers before the end of the year to bolster its services and sales department. Some of the workers will be employed at its new call center in Jerusalem which is scheduled to open in the coming weeks, Pelephone said. Pelephone's expansion comes in line with an expected global trend from telecommunications providers to up their investments in customer services in the coming year. A survey prepared by billing software company Amdocs showed that 2007 will see a significant rise in companies' investment in the customer service experience. Approximately 67% of the 200 telecom executives participating in the survey said they plan to increase their spending on customer service enhancements over the next year, with the average investment increase projected at 31%. In addition, Amdocs said service providers are planning to put more money into network infrastructure, with the average investment increase expected to be 33%. The survey predicted that service providers would continue to roll out Internet Protocol or IP-based services with IPTV, digital TV, video content and VoIP (voice over IP) expected to be the top products and services for 2007. The findings also highlight an expected increase in merger and acquisition activity among service providers to boost their digital offerings and expand their market share. "One third of those surveyed believe that their company will merge with another in the next year," Amdocs said. Comverse, a subsidiary of Comverse Technology, said that Amp'd Mobile, a provider of integrated mobile entertainment, has launched AOL's mobile AIM service using Comverse's mobile instant messaging (IM) solution. The solution enables Amp'd Mobile to offer its subscribers a seamless interface to instant messaging on their mobile phones and access to their branded, full color AIM Buddy List feature, Comverse said. The solution is being provided on Comverse's hosted mobile IM environment.