Nortel may be concentrating on BT for its introduction of converged products, but BT is not returning the favour. The telco has decided to supply customers that want IP-based soft private branch exchanges (PBXs) with Cisco Avvid products.
John Livingstone, portfolio product manager at BT, said 15 suppliers were evaluated and Cisco came out on top - even though BT has more than 120,000 customers already using Nortel PBX and there would have been advantages in sticking with a single vendor's technology.
Paul Templeton, Nortel's director of enterprise solutions, said the decision has little significance. "Only half of one per cent of users will be taking up software PBXs this year. They are still reluctant to sacrifice their existing applications which have served them well," he said.
BT will sell Nortel technology to customers that want to migrate their existing systems towards IP telephony rather than introduce soft PBXs. Livingstone said: "This is not a strategic supplier relationship decision, just a product decision. In the future it may be re-evaluated."
BT focuses more on systems integration, and installing soft PBXs will mean getting involved in customers data networks. "Obviously, we'll want to win as much of a customer's business as we can. We don't have to steal each account from resellers; we can work with them," said Livingstone.
First published in Computer Reseller News
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