RealTime IT News

AT&T Pens Staples Pact

AT&T will provide a range of voice and data services for Staples under a three-year, multi-million-dollar contract extension.

The pact is in line with Ma Bell's two-pronged strategy to transform itself into an IP network services provider for large customers in the face of flagging long-distance revenues.

The second part of AT&T's strategy is its aggressive rollout of Voice over IP for consumers.

AT&T will support Staples' online business and 1,400 store locations in the United States and Canada with local, long-distance and toll-free voice services; frame relay data service; and high-speed Internet access. AT&T competes with Sprint and others in the managed network services market.

Although this contract covers only North American operations, AT&T is "always interested in expanding to helping our customers overseas when appropriate," AT&T spokesman David Mancuso told internetnews.com.

Staples also operates in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, where it recently made an acquisition to boost its presence.

Additionally, AT&T Labs will work with Staples on a technology platform that will migrate the company's e-commerce applications to an IP-based networking solution. The company will also include support.

Staples will have online access to real-time reports on network performance and direct connection to electronic billing and trouble management systems.

A spokesman for Staples was not immediately available for comment.