Telecom furthers all-IP deal with Alcatel

Telecom New Zealand and Alcatel SA have taken their year old "strategic partnership" to develop Telecom's all-IP network a step further by signing a five year, NZ$120 million (US$70.3 million) deal to transfer more responsibility to Alcatel for maintaining and developing both the evolving all-IP network and the existing copper PSTN one.

In a move that echoes Thursday's deal with Lucent regarding Telecom's mobile 027 network, 200 Telecom staff will shift to Alcatel from July 1, bringing Alcatel New Zealand's headcount to 260. About 100 staff from AAPT - Telecom's Australian business - will move to Alcatel Australia.

Alcatel NZ managing director Mark Giles says the benefits to Alcatel will be the infusion of a wide set of skills and working more closely with end-users, though Telecom will continue to market the products and services.

Two Alcatel staff from the company's Paris headquarters will also come to New Zealand and stay "for at least two years," Giles says.

Telecom network delivery manager Steve Fuller says the deal, similar to Thursday's one with Lucent is part of Telecom's policy of "forming strategic relationships with global players."

In June 2002, Telecom contracted Alcatel to upgrade its fixed line networks in New Zealand and Australia to enable the networks to carry data and voice traffic over the same line.

Telecom said the relationship with Alcatel had reduced costs.

Telecom also has a long-term outsourcing agreement with EDS and last year contracted Ericsson to manage its 025 mobile network.

Asked if Telecom wasn't giving away too much control and responsibility to a third party, he replied "in this arrangement (with Alcatel), Telecom is retaining ownership of the asset and Alcatel will develop it."

Telecom plans to use the all-IP network to offer converged voice and data services on the same lines.

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