Nortel and Hewlett-Packard (HP) are preparing to launch their new global alliance in Australia next month.
Announced in the US on June 1, the global network services alliance sees the companies jointly deliver network lifecycle services and support.
The agreement covers consulting, design, support and reselling of Nortel solutions to HP and Nortel customers worldwide.
According to Gary Starr, channels director of Nortel's enterprise solutions, on a local front the partnership is the first for the companies.
"To date we haven't done a lot with [HP] in Australia, they are actually a customer of ours, but in terms of partnering with them it's all fairly new," Starr said.
Under the alliance, HP becomes a Nortel Global Solutions Partner (GSP), Starr said.
According to Starr, the partnership is an extension of an agreement between HP, Microsoft, Intel and Nortel, announced in March in which Nortel's messaging applications will be put on HP's servers and platforms. It also follows GSP alliances with Unisys and Compaq.
However, Starr said: "HP won't be like our traditional partners. We'll really be focusing with them on unified networks and IP telephony type applications running on HP platforms."
Whilst local implications are unclear, speculation is mounting in the US of the likely impact the new relationship may have on Cisco and HP's existing partnership. Dan McLean, research manager of network support and integration services at IDC Canada suggested that HP's current listing as a Cisco Gold Partner may be in jeopardy following the announcement.
"How will Cisco react to this? Well you can bet that there are probably some serious discussions going on or have been going on," McLean said. "I'm not sure what it means at this stage. Typically, when a company is partnered up with Cisco to the extent that HP has been traditionally, there isn't room for any other partnership of this magnitude.
"I'm not sure if that means that HP becomes of lesser importance to Cisco and more important to Nortel."