AT&T picks up $8m VPN deal, promises global VoIP

Advanced networking to the Finnish

Advanced networking to the Finnish

AT&T has won a three-year, $8m contract from Finnish conglomerate Metso. The carrier has also released details of an upcoming voice over IP (VoIP) service aimed at multinationals with widespread workforces.

AT&T is among a top tier of international carriers selling networking based on IP virtual private networks (IP VPNs) that use a technology called MultiProtocol Label Switching (MPLS) for speed and flexibility. Its rivals include BT, Cable and Wireless, France Telecom's Equant, Infonet and Sprint.

Metso, whose divisions focus on paper, minerals and industrial control systems and turnover €4.3bn a year, will switch from 15 different providers worldwide to AT&T.

Pauli Nuutinen, VP corporate IT services at Metso, said the decision to consolidate with AT&T and IP VPN was taken against a background of years of acquisitions and a move away from frame relay.

"Cost is a big thing when you're working with 15 vendors, managing so many agreements, but the No. 1 reason [for choosing AT&T] is a good uniform technical platform for our applications," he said.

Metso will run centralised data centres and currently has the challenge of running separate enterprise software systems such as Baan and SAP.

AT&T's VoIP offering will initially see trials in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK, following on from the AT&T CallVantage service currently being rolled out across the US. Options such as voicemail, conferencing and call logs will be offered to businesses with teleworkers.

AT&T has worked with Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco, Nortel and Siemens to ensure interoperability of equipment.