Cisco Systems and Ericsson have signed a multiyear agreement to jointly sell IP infrastructure equipment to telecommunications service providers.
The move is partly designed to bring multiservice networks using IP (Internet Protocol) technology to market more quickly, along with the services using those networks.
"It is a wireline agreement for the moment," said Cisco spokesman David Cook, adding that future wireless agreements between Cisco and Ericsson are a possibility.
The companies did not disclose any financial details of the agreement.
The strategic alliance will combine Cisco's core routers and switches with Ericsson's softswitch product line.
Based on IP packets, soft switches are carrier-class servers that are not tied to the switching hardware they control, and are particularly adept at combining IP voice and data services.
Customers, particularly those that are in the process of modernising their networks, will benefit from the combination of Ericsson's solid customer knowledge and strong background of building communication infrastructure and product portfolio, coupled with Cisco's market-leading IP portfolio, IP routing expertise and its good customer relationships, Cook said.
Existing customers Telefónica in Spain and Telstra in Australia have already expressed support for the alliance.
Cisco has similar agreements with other suppliers such as Motorola, Nokia and Siemens, although the Ericsson deal will have "no impact on those primarily wireless-focused relationships", Cook said.
Lucent Technologies also sells Cisco wireless network equipment.
In the wireless market, Ericsson has a partnership with Cisco rival Juniper Networks.
Ericsson has recently highlighted the importance of partnerships as well as outsourcing its services as the company moves ahead with 3G network deployment.
Laura Rohde writes for IDG News Service