BT has inked a seven-year deal with networking giant Alcatel-Lucent to help support the telco's global network operations by enhancing its non-UK non-IP network.
Under the contract, Alcatel-Lucent will manage most of the legacy networks serving BT Global Services' customers. The agreement is effectively an extension of the Multi-Vendor Managed Services contract which the two companies signed in November 2006.
"This contract will help us to better serve our customers. BT will be free to focus on its global 21st century platform, while Alcatel-Lucent can concentrate on further improving standards of service for those using our legacy networks," explained Hanif Lalani, the newly appointed chief executive of BT Global Services.
By handing over the responsibility of these legacy systems to Alcatel-Lucent, BT aims to increase the focus on its Global 21st Century Network (21CN) Platform.
21CN is BT's next-generation network rollout aimed at helping cope with the growing demand for bandwidth from an ever increasing online population who are seeking out a broader range of IP-based services. These include bandwidth hungry applications like video, music, gaming, social networking and TV.
During the first phase of the project Alcatel-Lucent will assume operations for five legacy global and domestic networks in 27 countries outside the UK, along with the BT Global Managed Platform legacy transport network.
A few hundred BT employees, predominately engineers, will transfer to Alcatel-Lucent within the scope of the project. The move will be permanent for these staff and they will remain at Alcatel-Lucent at the end of the contract.
Paul Higgs, vice president of Project Management for BT Global Services at Alcatel-Lucent, told vnunet.com, "BT has asked us to also be a change agent for their overall transformation program."
"So included in our responsibilities is the very major one of helping them on their network migration. They will be using us to firstly optimise their legacy network to drive early efficiencies and bring the cost down, and secondly migrate their customers off the legacy network and onto their 21CN platform."
Higgs believes that although network outsourcing has been going on for a long time this announcement has "bigger scope than other deals".
"Many other tier one players are looking at how to reduce cost and complexity and operators are going to be looking hard at this deal as a way of offering a richer blend of services and greater speed to market," he said.
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