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AT&T to expand network coverage in AP

Fresh from its merger with U.S.-based SBC Communications, the company is now looking to augment its global reach.
Written by Jeanne Lim, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Telecoms services giant AT&T is expanding its network in the Asia-Pacific region as part of a global US$8 billion capital investment for 2006.

The company plans to add network nodes in India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Vietnam; create new network interconnections in Vietnam, India and Japan; as well as provide digital subscriber lines (DSL) broadband capabilities via alliance agreements with local carriers in Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore.

Established between telcos, network interconnections allow subscribers of different telecoms service providers to communicate with one another, and access services rendered by other telecom enterprises.

AT&T currently provides leased line services to its customers in Asia. By the end of 2006, it will be able to offer Ethernet connectivity services in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.

The company has also added Wi-Fi roaming services in 5,500 locations across Europe, the Middle-East and the Asia-Pacific region. Made through an agreement with wireless broadband services company WeRoam, this means that AT&T Remote Access customers can now tap into Wi-Fi networks in more than 24,000 locations in 52 countries.

According to Choo Hock Lye, sales centre vice president at AT&T Asean/South Asia, the company will extend access to dedicated Multiprotocol Label Switching- (MPLS) based IP networks in 127 countries by the end of this year.

"Our intention is to own our own MPLS networks," he said, during a media and analyst briefing Thursday. "Where we can't [own the networks], we'll establish agreements with service providers in that country."

Choo added that the Asia-Pacific region represents the fastest-growing market for AT&T, with revenues growing at 11 percent year-on-year, from 2005 over 2004. He declined to reveal how much revenue the region contributes to the company's global figure. He also declined to say how much of the US$8 billion global capital investment would be pumped into the Asia-Pacific region.

AT&T was acquired by U.S.-based telecommunications company SBC Communications, in a deal worth US$16.9 billion, on Nov. 18 last year.

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