BT boosts mainland presence with deals

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2011, 12:00am


Telecommunications services giant BT Group is stepping up its expansion on the mainland after separately landing major deals with China Unicom and iSoftStone Holdings.

BT signed yesterday a so-called network to network interface (NNI) agreement with Unicom, the mainland's No 2 telecommunications carrier, to enable the British company's global customers to seamlessly connect to about 330 cities in China.

'This improved depth of coverage will translate to a more cost-effective solution for customers who require remote connectivity, as they expand operations further inland in China,' said Kevin Taylor, the president for Asia-Pacific at BT Global Services.

The Unicom partnership marked BT's second NNI contract on the mainland. It has an existing arrangement with Citic Telecom International CPC, a subsidiary of Citic Telecom International Holdings.

'If our customer needs connectivity in a remote location anywhere in China, we can seamlessly interconnect through our partner's network,' said Rod Bruggisser, BT senior portfolio marketing manager for Asia-Pacific. 'China is a vast geography, so a strong access network partnership helps customers achieve a faster go-to-market strategy.'

BT's customers on the mainland include Procter & Gamble, Novartis, Unilever, Nestle and PepsiCo. It also serves large Chinese clients with global requirements, including Huawei Technologies, Air China, ZTE Corp and Haier Group.

Taylor said BT would next focus on a potential NNI with China Telecom Corp, the country's biggest fixed-line network operator.

BT, which started its mainland operations in 1995, also announced a new alliance with domestic information-technology services provider iSoftStone.

Beijing-based iSoftStone recently invested an undisclosed amount to buy a 20 per cent equity interest in MDCL-Frontline (China), which is BT's mainland information-technology services joint venture. The stake acquired by iSoftStone was from the shareholding of Godwin Yau, the joint venture's founder.

'We expect iSoftStone and MDCL-Frontline to leverage each other's strengths and collaborate on strategic initiatives in areas such as health care and cloud computing,' said Eliza Kwok, BT China's managing director.