Corporate network and telecoms users should benefit from BT's planned £520m acquisition of US-based telecoms operator Infonet through reduced costs, easier management and a wider global reach, according to analysts.
Infonet, which has accepted BT's cash offer, operates in 70 countries and has a customer list of thousands of multinational companies, including financial services firm Munich Re and supermarket chain Tesco. The deal is subject to regulatory approval but is expected to be completed in the first half of 2005.
Gartner analyst Katja Ruud said, "This is a good move by BT and should provide an option for companies wanting a one-stop-shop for voice and data communications. One-stop-shops are easier to manage than employing different providers in each country a company operates."
Many multinational organisations have been reluctant to place all their network and telecoms needs with a single operator in the aftermath of the WorldCom crash three years ago and the trouble suffered by supplier KPNQwest.
Ruud said companies should look at the financial stability of any global provider as well as taking a more critical look at the technical ability, services and execution of potential providers.
Julian Hewett, an analyst at Ovum, said, "BT will not bang the two operations together quickly, but will take 18 to 24 months to complete integration in a more measured fashion. Customers should be reassured by this."
The fall-out from WorldCom still exists. At last month's Communications Management Association conference delegates heard how one division of Johnson Matthey was committed to different network suppliers in an attempt to spread the risk. The firm had signed a global managed service deal with WorldCom days before it went bankrupt.
If you are an Infonet customer...
- Ensure your contracts have good continuation-of-service clauses
- Confirm that changes to your account and support teams will be minimal
- Ensure that you will have a say in the timing of network migration
- Re-evaluate any migration plans as you may have to migrate again in a few years
- If you use Infonet through a distributor, try to transfer the relationship to Infonet.