AT&T has stepped in to help protect BT from losing international business customers to rival telecomm giant MCI Worldcom.
MCI Worldcom earlier this month outlined plans to entice international frame relay customers away from BT's Concert Communications Services - formerly a joint venture with MCI - by slashing its prices.
But AT&T hit back this week, announcing plans to sell international business communications services, including frame relay, ATM and Internet services, in partnership with Concert, under the newly created AT&T Concert brand.
The AT&T Concert alliance is a forerunner to the $11 billion alliance announced by BT and AT&T in July, and now under the scrutiny of regulators. The carriers plan to integrate their network facilities and roll-out an IP based network connecting 100 cities around the world.
AT&T Concert will sell six new services - frame relay, ATM, Internet, virtual private networks, virtual network services and call centre services. The companies said they want to provide a single source of international communications services for multinational companies.
"Our decision is in line with our global strategy," said AT&T chief executive Robert Annunziata, during a news teleconference. "Coinciding with, but not contingent upon the goals of the AT&T, BT venture."
All of AT&T's business sales staff will be used to sell the service, including an additional 1,000 new recruits, Annunziata said. "We've taken a look at getting more aggressive and getting more feet on the street with more account executives," he said.
BT gained full control of Concert after buying out MCI's 20 per cent stake. MCI merged with Worldcom earlier this year after merger talks with BT collapsed.
However, under existing service agreements, MCI Worldcom will continue to serve Concert customers for the next two years. These customers will continue to receive guaranteed service levels, Concert chief executive Peter Manning said.
Ceres, located in the asteroid belt, has a carbonaceous-rich upper crust, SwRI study claims
The spacecraft found traces of hydrogen and oxygen molecules, known as hydroxyls, embedded in the rocky surface of the asteroid
The skeleton was unearthed more than 20 years ago in South Africa
Moon's dark side is mountainous, rugged and never visible from the Earth