Telstra has moved to end growing speculation its prestigious DMO (Data Mode of Operations) project was becoming a farce, yesterday naming its preferred suppliers.
Nortel Networks and Lucent Technologies emerged as the two significant victors after what all the competing parties concede was a fiercely competitive battle, according to a report in ARN Daily, sister news service to Computerworld ASG Report.
Nortel reports its IP networking equipment will cater for Telstra's network core and IP backbone requirements, while Lucent stands to reap significant rewards as the dominant dial-up gateway provider.
According to Ralph Candiloro, general manager of Lucent's internetworking systems divison, Lucent's gateways represent over 50 per cent of the total equipment cost.
"It's the first major win for Lucent within Telstra and Australia," Candiloro told ARN Daily.
The DMO is billed as Telstra's most significant technology project, in what is designed to take it into the world of converged IP-based voice and data networks.
Nortel's Telstra account manager, Kevin Dearsley, told ARN Daily that work on the project is expected to commence immediately.
Dearsley said Nortel is also set to hire a raft of employees specifically for the project, indicating the selection process has already started.
"The theory that we have about unified networks is coming into reality."
"Telstra's DMO has been regarded as the jewel in the crown and we won. What more can I say?" said Dearsley.
Yesterday's announcement ends a tender process some ARN Daily sources claim was dragging on too long and was degenerating into an exercise designed to simply screw down the suppliers on every last "cent per port".
"Telstra's done some pretty screwy things in its time, but this is right at the top of the list," one of ARN Daily's sources confided.
However, now that the deal has been made public it still appears difficult to pinpoint exactly which company is the biggest winner.
Industry sources believe Lucent's portion of the contract may develop into a greater role than Nortel's if the carrier decides to limit the upgrade of the incumbent Nortel-based network core.
The move is a blow to Cisco and Alcatel's joint bid, despite the fact it has walked away with responsibility for network management and voice over IP services.