ATLANTA and SAN JOSE, Calif., June 2, 2003 - BellSouth Corporation (NYSE: BLS) and Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) announced today they will grow their relationship to deliver advanced voice and data managed services to businesses throughout BellSouth's nine-state region.
The unique agreement enables BellSouth and Cisco to provide network-based services such as Network VPN, Metro Ethernet and enhanced SONET services that benefit business customers by improving the cost-effectiveness of network operations and delivering more advanced communications solutions, such as inventory control at multiple locations, redundant networking capabilities, remote access to corporate information and order-entry applications.
The customer-focused relationship answers businesses' expanding communications requirements by bringing together two industry leaders to create a preferred point-of-contact for businesses seeking complete communications solutions.
"Data services are critical for the communications and operations needs of businesses in today's global economy," said Fred Shaftman, president of BellSouth Business. "As customers' voice and data needs converge, we are aligning with industry leaders like Cisco to provide secure and reliable service across service portfolios, allowing BellSouth to be the preferred point of contact for businesses seeking complete communications solutions."
Under terms of the agreement, BellSouth and Cisco will adopt an enhanced go-to-market approach, and integrate Cisco Systems' IP and optical networking equipment into BellSouth's next-generation network infrastructure to support value-added services. In addition to the innovative network-based solutions listed above, BellSouth and Cisco will jointly offer CPE-based services such as IP Telephony Services, Wireless LAN, LAN/WAN transport services and Optical CPE. These services enable wireless data management and transaction processing, automatic call distribution and unified messaging, and predictive dialing.
As part of their expanded relationship, BellSouth and Cisco will provide local and long-distance network transport, equipment, professional services and on-site maintenance and monitoring support for both the SMB (small and medium businesses) and Enterprise markets. The jointly developed offerings and programs also enable the companies to initially concentrate on four key vertical markets: Healthcare, Finance, Education and Government.
"Our new strategic relationship with BellSouth is extremely advantageous for the business customer," said Carlos Dominguez, vice president, U.S. service provider sales, Cisco Systems. "The combination of our extensive experience in data networking hardware and software and BellSouth's proven reliability in data transport makes it possible for businesses to enable innovative solutions and ensures that their voice and data are in the hands of trusted providers."
In June 2002 BellSouth articulated its plan for becoming the preferred integrated data solutions provider to businesses by utilizing its network strength, product leadership and best-in-class customer support. As part of this plan, BellSouth today announced the evolution of its SONET infrastructure to a next-generation MSPP (Multiservice Provisioning Platform) to improve network efficiencies and to better support new optical solutions. The company has also integrated MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) into its network core and edge, announced last month. Cisco is one of two providers participating in the SONET MSPP infrastructure build out and BellSouth will be utilizing Cisco ONS 15454 technology to support the initiative. The Cisco 10000 and 12000 Series routers will also be used in BellSouth's network edge for IP/MPLS service delivery.
"By continually improving our network capabilities, we are supercharging the engine that drives our business," said Bill Smith, BellSouth's chief product development and technology officer. "We're better able to serve our customers today and evolve our business to serve their needs tomorrow. The power and potential of advanced communications in our working and personal lives is only beginning to be realized. We believe BellSouth will lead the industry in delivering on the promise of these exciting new technologies."
BellSouth's enhancements to its network infrastructure will allow significant upgrades including improved service-level agreements, quality of service and incremental speed options for customers. The enhancements also enable the creation and delivery of next-generation services, such as Network VPN, across traditional network boundaries.
See related BellSouth press releases at http://www.bellsouthcorp.com/:
"BellSouth Selects Lucent and Cisco Technologies to Enable Next-Generation SONET Platforms"
"BellSouth Energizes Network Services with MPLS Technology and Region-wide IP Backbone"