Nortel Networks hints at partnership deals

Nortel Networks is investigating its partnership options with leading professional service organisations in an effort to boost its services business.

Senior company executives on Monday said Nortel Networks must broaden the reach of its "small and growing" professional service business as part of aggressive growth plans for the Asia Pacific region.

Tony Yuen, Nortel Networks' senior VP, new market developments, said he is "bullish" about growth opportunities in the region, particularly in Australia and China. He explained the company's small services outfit is therefore an important factor in the company's ability to integrate a range of IP-based voice and data networking solutions.

"Right now we are looking at options," he said, but declined to comment further on possible suitors.

"[Our services business] is not sufficient, we would need to partner with the big boys," he said, referring to services organisations such as CSC, EDS and IBM GSA.

Nortel Networks is working to boost its product and services portfolio for intranets, wireless Internet, voice over IP and optical Internet technologies.

John Roth, Nortel Networks' vice chairman and CEO, told Asia Pacific journalists here at a company briefing that the company is witnessing growth in product sales to competitive local exchange carriers, particularly in North America and Canada. The value proposition, he explained, is the ability to offer an "end-to-end solution portfolio".

"They want to buy a network, not build it," he said.

Roth said Nortel Networks' project management capabilities are important to the extent the company will integrate other vendors' equipment into a site if required. "We'll even put in equipment we don't make," he said.

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