Prudential cuts call costs with voice over IP BT contract

Prudential UK has signed a multimillion-pound voice and data outsourcing contract with BT that will include the company rolling...

Prudential UK has signed a multimillion-pound voice and data outsourcing contract with BT that will include the company rolling out voice over IP (VoIP) to cut its communications costs.

The five-year deal covers 7,000 staff, including 900 in the financial service company’s Indian call centre in Mumbai.

John Worth, Prudential UK chief information officer, said the company receives about 1.5 million calls a quarter from customers and makes almost two million calls a quarter.

Worth said, "This contract will completely transform our communications with the aim of fully integrating all voice and data services within 18 months.

"We expect to be making our first VoIP calls by the middle of next year and, until we reach the full integration of voice and data on a single network, we will run a traditional phone system in parallel."

VoIP will enable Prudential to cut costs as BT consolidates the company’s communications onto a single network and allows it to make cheaper or free "packetised" IP calls across the internet without having to rely on the public switched telephone network.

There have been concerns that VoIP traffic could be the subject of hacking attempts, a particular threat for a financial services organisation such as Prudential.

Worth said, "Subject to our approval, it will now be up to BT to come up with the robust security measures to prevent such a threat."

Prudential considered proposals from six different suppliers but chose BT because it offered the best functionality on the best terms.

Worth said, "Improved functionality with high security for data was always the driving force for undertaking such a transformation, and that is what we think we have got with the BT contract."

Prudential’s 31-strong in-house communications team will be transferred to BT under Transfer of Undertakings legislation.

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