Tesco has signed a £100 million deal with Cable and Wireless to build a data and voice network that will connect its UK and international offices.
The network will bring together all of Tesco's existing UK communication infrastructure, connecting more than 1,800 Tesco sites including stores, regional offices and distribution centres.
Internationally, the network will directly connect Tesco's operations in 14 separate countries including China, India, Japan, the USA, Republic of Ireland and Turkey, connecting over 400,000 people.
Tesco will install voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) on the network, which it expects to reduce its voice and data call costs. It will also enable a fixed mobile convergence (FMC) system for Tesco employees.
FMC will allow Tesco staff to use their existing mobile phones for all calls - operating as a fixed-line phone in the office, and roaming on to a mobile network outside. The service will better equip Tesco's 'mobile' employees, such as logistics staff, as well as significantly reducing its call and equipment costs.
Tesco also announced it is to use high-definition video conferencing technology, provided by Cisco Systems.
The network will enable Tesco to lower the cost of video-conferencing, and activate additional features such as shared documents and interactive whiteboard facilities.