RealTime IT News

AT&T Expands News Corp. Deal

When Rupert Murdoch needs to contact underlings in his far-flung media empire, AT&T will make it happen.

Murdoch's News Corp. has signed a seven-year, $150 million deal with the telecom carrier for voice and international data services.

Joyce Van Duzer, a spokeswoman for Bedminster, N.J.-based AT&T, said the deal extends and expands a previous voice and data deal with New Corp. but declined to specify the terms of the earlier pact.

Sydney-based News Corp. is a high-profile customer. It owns and manages newspapers, films, cable network, magazines, book publishing and other media outlets in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Ausralia and Asia.

Among its properties are Fox Entertainment Group, the New York Post and HarperCollins Publishing.

Under the new pact, AT&T will design, integrate and manage the company's U.S. networking capabilities and standardize its communications infrastructure. The system will be scalable to accommodate growth.

AT&T will also provide business services, including: dedicated and switched local access; private-lines; long-distance; Frame Relay and Asynchronous Transfer Mode high-speed data; and global Internet access.

News Corp. comes two weeks after AT&T inked a three-year, $9 million deal with Huntsman to standardize and manage its voice and data networks -- a move that will allow the chemical manufacturing giant to better integrate takeovers.

The deal extends a previous contract between the companies. It also expands the scope, snatching some business away from rival service providers.

The competition for managed services is intense. In recent months, Lucent Technologies has pushed into the sector, saying its experience building networking equipment has prepared it to design, integrate and manage corporate and government systems.

AT&T has also been scrapping with other service providers over Web hosting customers after some dropped the service. Customers are embracing the managed network services as well, freeing up technical staff to focus on the core business and reducing overall costs.