Cisco, SingTel cooperate on advanced services

Networking giant Cisco Systems has formed an alliance with national carrier Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) to develop and market a wide range of advanced telecommunications services for the region, the company announced last week.

This is the first strategic tie-up between an equipment vendor and a major carrier in the region. Cisco will designate SingTel as its preferred supplier of telecommunications services in Singapore, while SingTel will include Cisco as one of its end-to-end networking solutions providers. The companies will also jointly market their products and services to key customer accounts, Cisco said.

The deal is not exclusive, allowing Cisco and SingTel to continue working with other partners, but the potential benefits may push other vendors such as Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks into similar alliances with other regional carriers, according to Amala Menon, telecommunications market analyst for IDC.

"It benefits SingTel's regional business to be allied with a brand name such as Cisco," she said.

Cisco, with its large base of corporate customers in the region, will also be able to promote SingTel's services, Menon said.

Initial projects that the alliance partners will develop include IP/VPN (Internet protocol/virtual private network) services, a local frame relay network, DSL (digital subscriber line) technology, and next-generation multi-service networks that integrate data, voice and video and intelligent buildings that are IP-aware, Cisco said.

The alliance will also involve a technology exchange program where SingTel and Cisco Systems will brief each other on product and technology directions as well as work closely together on key customer accounts. SingTel engineers will also be able to gain working experience in Cisco Systems' technical assistance centres, Cisco said.

SingTel has invested more than S$2.3 billion ($A2 billion) in telecommunications-related projects, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region. It owns interests in 54 ventures and operations in 19 countries including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Belgium.

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