SkyNetGlobal nets more partners

Wireless network provider SkyNetGlobal is continuing to attract some of the industry's biggest players, with the announcement of a three-way agreement with Unisys and Nortel Networks.

SkyNetGlobal, launched in Australia in November, is building a global wireless broadband network to provide high-speed remote wireless access to corporate travellers.

Under the agreement, Nortel will supply SkyNetGlobal with key technology including subscriber cards, IP service nodes, multi-service access switches and data wireless access points. Additionally, Nortel equipment will be installed in SkyNetGlobal's call centre. Installation, service support and management of the network and rollout will be handled by Unisys, from a global project management office located in Melbourne.

Jonathon Soon, SkyNetGlobal's president and CEO, said the agreements with Unisys and Nortel complete SkyNetGlobal's plans for the $100 million project.

The company plans to launch its service in Australia on May 1 in 50 different locations, including hotels, airports and convention centres connected to the network. By August, the network will be expanded to 100 locations throughout Asia, with the initial rollout budgeted at 300 locations in 100 cities worldwide.

"We plan to expand by 200 locations per annum (after that)," Soon said. "We plan to get as many locations as possible - 300 are planned for in the initial budget."

Soon said the network would provide subscribers with up to 11Mbps of data, voice and video. Employees of Unisys and Nortel are also expected to sign up for the service, he added.

SkyNetGlobal's agreements with Unisys and Nortel also include joint branding and marketing programs as well as the possibility of attracting a pool of common corporate customers.

SkyNetGlobal is building relationships with hotel chains, airlines and convention centre throughout the world. Fifty locations in the Asia-Pacific region are currently being targeted and agreements with All Seasons Hotels, Sheridan Hotels, Westin Hotels and Singapore Airlines have already finalised. "We are in discussions with all the major hotel chains in Europe and (will have our) coverage completed there soon."

SkyNetGlobal has also signed global partnerships with advertising agency Leo Burnett and PC manufacturer Acer Computer. Unlike other strategic partners, Leo Burnett, Nortel and Unisys are not taking equity stakes in SkyNetGlobal.

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