BrokerOne said the new link had none of the latency issues of the previous service that had caused market data delays of up to 30 minutes during periods of extremely high network traffic. Because of the time-sensitivity and high value of financial trading, this translated into losses of thousands of dollars every second as displayed prices were incorrect, the broker's network manager, Zlatko Hristov, said.
This adversely affected not only profits "but our reputation," Hristov said.
Once the new AT&T link was implemented, latency in high-trade periods was reduced to a maximum of three to 10 seconds.
The previous link had been supplied by BrokerOne's local Internet service provider, an Australian telecommunications company. Neither AT&T nor BrokerOne were prepared to name the organisation, which retains BrokerOne's local ISP business.
Watching the enemy
AT&T's Australia and New Zealand managing director Jeyan Jeevaratnam claimed his company had made a habit of taking business away from its competitors in 2005.
AT&T's international divisions compete most directly with other large international telcos, generally for contracts with large enterprises with branches in multiple countries.
"If I look at the competition in 2005, clearly MCI was in a holding pattern because they were going through all their restructuring," he said in an interview with ZDNet Australia, referring to the carrier's acquisition by giant telco Verizon.
"Equant was being pulled back, I think," he said, pointing out France Telecom's international division was planning to re-brand itself under its parent's "Orange" name. Jeevaratnam was equally disparaging about arch-rival British Telecom (BT).
"BT has been vocal, but we didn't really lose a deal where we went head-on with them in this market," he claimed. "They've said a lot of words in the marketing scene."
Although AT&T's US headquarters is also undoubtedly in the midst of its own restructuring due to the company's acquisition by SBC Communications -- which received final regulatory approval in November last year and chose to retain the AT&T brand -- Jeevaratnam was adamant the move hasn't affected his company's Australian operations.
"There is no impact globally because it's a fairly complementary merger," he said. "SBC has no staff really outside the US."
The managing director said the local arm of AT&T had signed "close to AU$60 million in new contracts" in 2005, with 75 percent of those "actually contracts signed out of Australia, as opposed to being signed out of the US.
Jeevaratnam said customers would in the near future see the new AT&T revamping its line of Virtual Private Network (VPN) products, as well as focusing on security, hosting and further integration into customers' networks.
"We truly believe that it's a network service provider's responsibility to provide security," he said.
"Another thing we're going to go into -- and I'm not sure how it's going to impact locally -- but in the US mobility is going to be a big push for AT&T. The new AT&T owns 60 percent of [mobile operator] Cingular and that's going to be the push that we'll be going after. And WiMAX will be an area that we'll be taking advantage of."
The managing director admitted AT&T's customers hadn't been demanding wireless data links as yet, but projected the technology catching on in around 18 months as a backup link for sites which already have fixed line network access. "We're kind of getting geared for that," he said, noting AT&T wouldn't be building any of its own WiMAX infrastructure in Australia but would use that of other carriers.