Networking equipment vendor Nortel will seek
to do more business with Cisco stalwart Alphawest, capitalising
on what Nortel says is a good relationship with the services
company's new owner, Optus.
This time last year Alphawest was awarded Cisco's Gold Partner
of the Year for 2004. "Alphawest has implemented many IP
telephony sites across Australia and places focus on delivering
solutions utilising Cisco Systems technology," the company's Web
But there are signs that relationship is now changing due to
Alphawest's acquisition by Optus in July last year. Optus is both
a member of Nortel's nPower partner program as well as being a
Gold Partner with Cisco.
"That relationship has just started to evolve, etc, and I've
met the chief executive of Alphawest and we talked about really
how we build up the Nortel business," Nortel's Australia and New
Zealand president Mark Stevens said in an interview with ZDNet
Australia this week.
"The opportunity there is that Optus ... will start to develop
the business, and we would see us starting to really ramp up our
relationships and our build improve through AlphaWest," he
Nortel convergence chief architect Mick Regan noted that Optus
had become a member of Nortel's nPower channel program in the
last twelve months.
"So we've actually got a stronger relationship with them now,
where before we didn't have that in place, we're working very
closely with them now," he told ZDNet Australia.
Alphawest declined to comment on the issue, but Optus'
alliance with Nortel on converged communications was a concern
for Alphawest in the days after the acquisition in the middle of
Alphawest chief executive Garry Henley
said at the time he wasn't sure how the Nortel/Cisco clash
would pan out. "We'll have to work through what comes across from
Optus and what we can provide," he said.
However Regan noted Optus wasn't likely to put all its eggs in
one basket. "They certainly see that there's more than one player
in the marketplace. They're fully aware of that," he said.
Cisco's local managing director Ross Fowler said his company's
relationship with Alphawest hadn't changed. "I think it's
actually strengthened," he said in an interview with ZDNet
"Garry Henley who runs Alphawest reports into [Optus Business
managing director] John Simon. I have a good relationship, and
Cisco has a good relationship with John Simon, but I've also
maintaining dialogue with Garry, as I would if he was running an
independent company," he continued.
Fowler pointed towards recent work his company had done with
Alphawest on the delivery of handsets into the newly refurbished
Sydney Hilton Hotel as an example of the strength of the
In a wider sense though, Fowler said he thought the
acquisition had helped change the conversation within Optus
towards the convergence of voice and data. "Through the
acquisition of Alphawest I think we've got an injection into
Optus of skills that they didn't have," he said.
"If I look at where they've [Optus] come from, it has been
from a TDM background, it has been from a traditional voice
background," Fowler said.